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  #1  
Old 10-23-2008, 01:23 AM
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Lightbulb Religious Tolerance: Islam vs. Other Religions

Religious Tolerance: Islam vs. Other Religions


by Imran Haider
31 Aug, 2008


While discussing the violence aspect of religious texts, Goldberg wrote,
"At one time or another all religions have been nasty. For all of the passages in the Koran that have been used to justify violence, one can just as easily find passages in the Jewish or Christian Bibles justifying violence. The difference is that Europeans and Americans, broadly speaking, no longer have the desire to use religion to justify violence. Vast numbers of Arabs, North Africans and East Asians still do. Our inquisitions are in the past, their inquisitions happen every day. Much of Muslim world simply lives in a different time than in the West. Oh sure, some of the big cities, with their cars and satellite dishes, may look modern. But their culture is horribly behind the times."
In other words, Goldberg is implying that people of Jewish and Christian faith may not take their respective religions quite literally. For many of them, they may accept their texts with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, for millions of people of Islamic faith, blasphemy is such a buzzword that it can trigger a violent outburst autonomously in no seconds.

Some analysts may blame this mindset as the main hindrance to progress in Muslim societies. The Hindus have their share of intolerance in the age-old inhuman caste system in the societal domain. Nevertheless, they are showing more and more signs of tolerance in their antiquated belief system. When an Indian artist of Muslim heritage drew a nude portrait of a Hindu Goddess who personifies art and education, there was an outcry in parts of India. But soon the controversy subsided and the artist is now alive and well roaming freely all over India.

What could have been the aftermath if the artist dared to enter the Islamic cultural space?

One of my friends of Hindu heritage told me an interesting story. He went to a Saraswati Puja a few months ago. The priest and his spouse were the guests of honor in the festivity. While the priest was busy performing the Puja, his spouse was utilizing the time chitchatting with some of the worshipers in a different room. The most incredible thing was utterances that came from the priest's spouse mouth. She said to the devotees, "Ram was a homosexual and Krishna was nothing more than a womanizer."

I asked my friend about the reaction of the devotees, whether they jumped to the priest's spouse to choke her to death.

My friend's reply was there was no negative outcome. It seemed as if nothing extraordinary happened in the Puja Mandap.

If you care to do an exegesis, you will observe that many of the educated Hindus are not apologetic of Krishna's philandering escapades. Some are even critical of Ram's social behavior especially when he subjected his spouse Sita to undergo a test of her marital fidelity by walking through an open fire. However, their critical scrutiny does not throw them into atheists' camp. Many of them still believe in the basic tenets of Hinduism. In a sense, they are quite tolerant as far as scrutinizing their faith is concerned.

The other day, I was watching "Mission Impossible," the movie on TV. In one sequence, the character played by Tom Cruise threw away a copy of the Bible from the computer table to the floor. He showed his casual approach to the "Holy book" as if it was just an ordinary book.

I do not know if any evangelical Christian group raised any outcry for showing such disrespect to the Bible. Can you possibly imagine what could have happened if it had been a Koran instead of the Bible?

The zealots could have burned the movie theater to the ashes. And don't kid yourself!

Let me also do here a short exegesis of Serrano's art that stirred a controversy as his expression of artistic freedom touched upon sacrilegiousness of the Christendom. Believe it or not, with the able help of American taxpayers' money, the National Endowment of Arts put the Serrano exhibit in New York City. The controversial art that drew criticism was Jesus in a bottle of urine.

Many of the US lawmakers expressed their outrage and disgust in congressional hearings. However, their opinion centered on not to get rid of the artwork, rather not to fund such "sacrilegious" artwork with American taxpayers' money. They therefore drew a line of distinction.

A similar situation arose in New York City again. The famous New York Museum of Modern Art had a display of African arts. One of the exhibits had been Mother Mary covered with the elephant dung. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani understandably had boycotted the show; nevertheless, the exhibition was allowed to continue.

Imagine, what could have happened if both of these art works touched upon subjects relating to Islam! Many of the readers may remember the famous lawsuit of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) against U.S. Supreme Court. The CAIR wanted to get rid of the frieze of Prophet Muhammad which was an important Supreme Court artifact. The Supreme Court's desire to keep the frieze of Muhammad, the Justice, prevailed. CAIR probably learned to be tolerant a little bit, I may say.

Let me now get to the final part of my brief exegesis on religious tolerance. A recent PBS documentary covered the linkage between Judaism and Christianity. The documentary showed a dramatization of Jesus Christ's circumcision. Jesus, a born Jew, ought to have been circumcised before third weeks of his birth. This ritual had been historically a social custom in Jewish community for thousands of years.

Many religious scholars find significant similarities between Islam and Judaism. It is as if the two religions are two sides of a coin. How male circumcision became part of Islamic tradition is a puzzle to many. There is no evidence that Prophet Muhammad's ancestors of the Quraysh tribe followed this ancient Judaic practice and there is no historical clue to support this notion. Yet, as male circumcision became part and parcel of Muslim social practices, many Muslims in South Asia even fondly call it Mussalmani or Sunnat.

Although Jesus Christ was definitely circumcised, most of the Christians of the western world did not embrace the ritual as part of their faith. Could these contrasting scenarios be the possible flight paths to probe another historic riddle?
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:01 PM
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Exclamation Iraq: "We are killed because we are Christians"

Iraq: "We are killed because we are Christians"


One grey-haired woman understands more than most the fear that has gripped Iraq's beleaguered Christian community over the past month.
Her brother, Bashar al-Hazim, was among the first to be murdered in a wave of targeted killings that has forced more than 2,000 Christian families to flee the northern city of Mosul.

Masked gunmen walked up to Mr Hashim as he stood with his two children outside their house in the east-side of Mosul in late September.

They demanded to see his identity card, confirmed he was Christian and executed the 41-year-old on the spot.

"I could have died when I found out. He was a dear brother and was killed in a very despicable way," said the woman, 60, who was too afraid to give her name.

She, like thousands of other Christians who have left the city since the start of October, claims to have no idea who carried out the attack. Fear of potential repercussions appears to prevent many in the region from speaking their mind.

"We're peaceful people. When my brother was executed he had no enemies. Why was he killed? He was not a member of a party. There was no reason except for being Christian," the woman, dressed in a black gown, said.

Worried that they would be next, she and her family evacuated to Bartella, a Christian town 20 miles north of Mosul in the Nineveh Plains, which border the largely-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

They took shelter in a stone building attached to a churchyard, where some 19 other families were also gathered.

Of the estimated 13,000 Christians to flee Mosul this month, some have since returned but the majority remain refugees in monasteries and convents to the north and east of the city as well as in spare rooms in the towns and villages that dot the Nineveh Plains.

In the churchyard dwelling, the only furniture is a smattering of beds, mattresses and plastic chairs. There is also a battered, old stove.

"We left Mosul with just the clothes on our back. Our nerves are shredded," the woman said, sitting on a bed with her husband who suffers from angina. "It is not very comfortable here, but at least we have security."

Six of the families have dared to return to Mosul and others are planning to creep back in the coming days, but the dead man's sister is staying put.

"We cannot live in Mosul," she said, wiping a tear from her eye.

Iraq's rich blend of minority communities became a popular target for the insurgency that flared following the 2003 invasion. Tens of thousands of Christians as well as members of other sects such as Shabaks and Yazidis were forced out of major cities across the country under threat of death,
Many returned to the Nineveh Plains, a rural strip of land that has been home to minorities for centuries. But life is hard, with a lot of areas suffering from a lack of electricity and running water. There is no university so students must travel further afield to Mosul, often an impossible feat because of the dangers.

Hashim Mohsen is a Shabak from Mosul. He and his family left the city more than two years ago after his older brother was murdered. Mr Mohsen, a micro-biologist, has since lost a second brother and his house has been destroyed.

The nightmare began on July 27, 2006, when a car pulled up outside his front gate where his older brother, Amar, was sitting with four friends.
Two masked gunmen stepped out, while a small boy sitting in the car, his face also shrouded, pointed at Amar, 29, and said: "That one".

The driver of the vehicle ordered his men to shoot. Amar tried to lunge at them but was restrained. The assailants pumped six bullets into his head and heart, shouting: "Allah Akubar (God is great)".

That night the family received a note warning that their punishment for being Shia was death. Shabaks follow a form of Shia Islam. As a result, they have been repeatedly targeted by Sunni Islamist militants such as al-Qaeda.

"We left the next day to hold a funeral for my brother in the nearby village of Ali-Rash, where we stayed," Mr Mohsen, in his late 20s, said. Four other related families, petrified that they too would be killed, also moved.

They spent the next four months living in a mosque in the village before being able to build a two-roomed shack for the five families to inhabit.
Adding to the tragedy, a second brother ventured back to the Mosul house in December 2006 to pick up supplies for winter, such as blankets. He never returned. A neighbour later called up to say he too had been killed.

"We did not know who, what or why," Mr Mohsen said, grim-faced.
Last February, Iraqi forces raided his uncle's house next door, which militants had turned into a base. After a 30-minute firefight, three men were killed and four men and three women taken away.

In the afternoon a supposed associate of the gang visited the neighbourhood and blew up the house. Months later, Mr Mohsen's house was also levelled.

Asked whether he would ever return to Mosul to re-start his life, the man said: "I cannot go home. They will kill us all in a day."
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:30 PM
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Lightbulb Algeria Christians Face Long Jail Terms For "Blasphemy"

Algeria Christians Face Long Jail Terms For "Blasphemy"



ALGIERS, ALGERIA (BosNewsLife)-- Three Christians faced years of imprisonment in Algeria Friday, October 23, on charges of blasphemy, following a court hearing last week, rights workers observing the case said.

The US-based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC), with Website www.persecution.org, told BosNewsLife that an Algerian court in the town of Ain Turk, 267 miles (430 kilometers) from the capital Algiers, held a hearing on the Christians' fate October 16.

Prosecutors demanded that the three Christians, identified as Youssef Ourahmane, Rachid Seghir and Hamid Ramdani, would be sentenced to "three years of prison and a fine of 500 euros ($630) on charges of 'insulting Islam, its prophet and threatening the former professing Christian that complained against them'," CAA said, citing local sources.

Earlier, a lower court reportedly already agreed with the punishment, but the accused Christians were apparently not present at the time of the ruling "The defendants then appealed the decision of the lower court on July 15, 2008. The appeal court postponed the hearing until October 21, 2008," ICC explained.

RADICAL MUSLIMS

The case against the three Christian men was reportedly brought by the public prosecutor with the help of a man identified as Shamouma Al-Aid. He "converted" from Islam to Christianity for a period of time, but he continued to maintain relations with radical Muslims while attending churches and a Bible school, Christians said.

Later he reportedly "reconverted" to Islam and alleged that the three Christians were blaspheming Islam and its prophet Mohammed. He also alleged that the Christians were threatening him for "reconverting" to Islam," said ICC, which closely monitored the case.

The group stressed however that there was "a positive development" as a lawyer representing the Algerian Ministry of Religious Affairs said that "the rights of Algerian religious minorities should be respected." The court was to make its decision next Wednesday, October 29.

REGIONAL MANAGER
ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho said his organization was concerned about the situation. "As a member of the international community, the Algerian government has the obligation to respect the freedom of religion for its Christian minorities. It is time for Algerian officials to carry out their obligations by ceasing to interfere with freedom of worship of the country's Christian minorities," Racho added.

He said his rights group urged Christians "to pray for their Algerian brothers and sisters who are going through persecution."

Christians and Jewish people comprise less than one percent of Algeria's mainly Muslim population of roughly 34 million people, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:25 PM
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Exclamation Saudi calls for "interfaith dialogue" in context

Saudi calls for "interfaith dialogue" in context


According to the Associated Press, Saudi King Abdullah recently said that he plans on attending a meeting in November at the United Nations in New York to further his "initiative to promote interfaith dialogue.” The King further remarked that “extending Muslims' hands to non-Muslims will help ‘purify’ the reputation of Islam at a time when the world is criticizing the faith.”

Of course, none of this is new; Abdullah has been “reaching out” to infidels for some time now. Prior to the much touted interfaith conferences in Madrid, the Saudi monarch is said to have “made an impassioned plea for dialogue among Muslims, Christians, and Jews” — going so far as to refer to the latter two as “our brothers.” The Jerusalem Post further wrote that such talks would be geared toward developing “respect among religions.”

The Arabian kingdom, however, is famous for tenaciously upholding and exporting “Wahhabism/Salafism,” that literalist brand of Islam that preaches absolutely no tolerance, murders apostates, and condemns all non-Muslims as infidels. It is also famous for having supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11, “educating” fellows such as Osama bin Laden, and boasting, of all things, a sword on its national flag. One can’t help but question the old monarch’s motives. Moreover, while the Saudi king was/is beguiling infidels with his calls for “dialogue,” that the textbooks of his kingdom are still instructing the youth of Saudi Arabia to hate all non-Muslims, is further demonstrative of Abdullah’s sincerity, or lack thereof.

Here’s another telling anecdote: days before the Madrid conferences, prominent Saudi Sheikh Abdul Rahman Barack issued a death-fatwa against two Saudi writers. Their crime? They wrote articles in the Saudi paper Al-Riyadh questioning the Muslim position that holds all non-Muslims — whom the Saudi king would otherwise call “brothers” — as infidels. According to the Arab News, Barack had said: “Anyone who claims this [that non-Muslims are not infidels] has refuted Islam and should be tried so that he can take it back. If not, he should be killed as an apostate from the religion of Islam.”

Does this mean that King Abdullah truly believes Christians and Jews are not infidels, and if so, does that also mean that Barack should issue a fatwa for his life, for having apostatized?

At any rate, is the Saudi king aware that “dialogue” is supposed to be held by two or more singular participants who nonetheless genuinely believe that they share some basic human rights — such as the freedom to practice whatever religion they wish without being molested? Only civilized peoples who are agreed to such fundamentals can move on to more temporal matters, such as territorial disputes (e.g., Israel/Palestine). But what is the point of having “dialogue” over secondary matters when the primary issues — basic human rights — are not endorsed by all participants?

In Saudi Arabia, the facts remain: native citizens who dare apostatize must be slain; absolutely no churches, synagogues, or any other symbol of non-Muslim worship (e.g., crosses, Stars of David, Bibles) is permitted on the peninsula; non-Muslims are barred from entering Mecca or Medina.
These are just the visible forms of intolerance practiced in the home of Islam and its founder. Theoretically — or rather, theologically — speaking, the juridical worldview of Islam is little better: whenever the opportunity presents itself, the whole world must be brought under Islamic rule, either willingly or by the sword, following the pattern of the Islamic prophet and the first “righteous” caliphs. What is even more troubling is that this Muslim view of world conquest isn’t merely a product of certain obscurantist schools of Islamic thought; nor is it a “hijacking” by Bin Laden and his likes. Rather, it is the codified worldview of all four schools of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. In fact, it is a communal duty (a fard kifaya) imposed on Muslims.

In light of all this, where exactly does Abdullah get the gall to call for “dialogue”? The measure of any community’s sincerity and tolerance toward the “Other” is how well that community treats the “Other” when the latter is under its authority.

In the United States, for example, Muslim minorities have the exact same rights — to build places of worship (mosques), publicly carry their scriptures (Korans), to worship and proselytize, and, simply, to be Muslim — as do Christians, Jews, and the rest. That is proof that the West is prepared for dialogue over ancillary matters: it has already visibly demonstrated that it firmly believes all humans are guaranteed basic rights.

Countries like Saudi Arabia evince no respect for basic human rights and freedoms. The contrast is amply demonstrated by the recent comments of one high ranking Saudi who said that “It would be possible to launch official negotiations to construct a church [note the singular] in Saudi Arabia only after the Pope and all the Christian churches recognize the prophet Muhammad” — which of course would make all Christians Muslim.
How would Muslims react to a requirement that, to build mosques in the U.S., they must first publicly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Indeed, Saudi calls for dialogue are akin to the following hypothetical scenario: Imagine if the U.S. today enshrined, and enforced, laws in its Constitution maintaining that blacks are inferior to whites, and that, at best, they must be treated as second-class citizens. Then, despite the fact that the whole world is aware of these laws, despite the fact that blacks living outside the U.S. are constantly hearing about Americans persecuting blacks in the U.S., despite all that, imagine the U.S. also “reaching out” to powerful African nations, insisting that there is a need for “dialogue”—you know, to “clear things up” and (verbally) demonstrate how blacks are viewed as "brothers."

Perhaps the greatest proof that the old king is being insincere is the fact that, in most of his ostensibly “multi-culti” speech, polytheists are conspicuously left out. Prior to Madrid, for instance, Abdullah continuously stressed that this dialogue is to be only with “our brothers in all religions which I mentioned, the Torah [Jews] and the Gospels [Christians].” If the Saudi king was honestly trying to promote religious tolerance around the world, why weren’t polytheists invited to the talks? Specifically, why weren’t Hindus invited, who also have a long and often bloody history with Islam, including territorial disputes (e.g., Kashmir) that continue to this day?

The theological reason is that polytheists (“al-mushrikun”) are held in an even worse position than Christians and Jews (whom the Koran refers alternatively to as “people of the Book,” but in the latter chapters and verses — which take precedence, according to systems of abrogation — as “infidels” who must be fought in perpetuity). So while Abdullah’s “brothers,” Jews and Christians, can in fact cling to their faiths (once subdued and made to live according to second-class, “dhimmi” status), polytheists must either convert, or die.

Still, it is evident that the king’s failure to reach out to Hindus is not so much due to theology—as we have seen, doctrinally speaking, Jews and Christians are marginally better—but rather that, while the king sees a need to reach out to the currently powerful Judeo-Christian West, he has no pressing need to reach out to Hindus.

Yet, if dialogue is meant to ameliorate conflict, shouldn’t Indians at the very least also be invited to these talks, since Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan—which, combined boast some 1.5 billion people—are, whenever the latter is not experiencing internal upheavals, sometimes on the brink of nuclear war? The answer is obvious: the Muslim brothers of Pakistan are enough of a stalwart, as they are both equally armed, and so there is, at this point, no need to “reach out” and touch those particular infidels.

While Abdullah’s “impassioned plea for dialogue” is certainly worthy of support, the starting point of that discussion must be the Muslim world’s treatment of the non-Muslims in their midst. Once Saudi Arabia affords basic human rights to non-Muslims — not to mention Saudi citizens who simply wish to convert without being executed — then dialogue over secondary matters can ensue. Until then, the Saudis have absolutely no place at the negotiation table and, if anything, should be ashamed of these continuous public displays of blatant hypocrisy.
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:56 PM
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Exclamation Muslims behead Christian convert from Islam in Somalia

Muslims behead Christian convert from Islam in Somalia



Mansuur Mohammed: This offends no one

Last week at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Muslim students rolled their eyes and smiled with exasperation when I noted that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence taught that the penalty for apostasy from Islam was death, in accord with Muhammad's words, "If anyone changes his religion, kill him." One young man, who was unusually polite, actually wrote a piece about it in the school paper, which I still intend to answer. But the consensus in any case was that I was representing a minority view as a majority one. Very well: I expect, therefore, that the UWM MSA will be organizing a rally in memory of Mansuur Mohammed, denouncing his killers, and calling upon Muslims everywhere to defend the freedom of conscience.

Is that too much to ask?

"Somalia: Christian Aid Worker Beheaded For Converting From Islam," from Compass Direct, October 27:

Source: http://compassdirect.org/en/display....yname=&rowcur==
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (Compass Direct News) – Among at least 24 aid workers killed in Somalia this year was one who was beheaded last month specifically for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness.

Muslim extremists from the al Shabab group fighting the transitional government on Sept. 23 sliced the head off of Mansuur Mohammed, 25, a World Food Program (WFP) worker, before horrified onlookers of Manyafulka village, 10 kilometers (six miles) from Baidoa.

The militants had intercepted Mohammed and a WFP driver, who managed to escape, earlier in the morning. Sources close to Mohammed’s family said he converted from Islam to Christianity in 2005.

The eyewitness, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the militants that afternoon gathered the villagers of Manyafulka, telling them that they would prepare a feast for them. The people gathered anticipating the slaughter of a sheep, goat or camel according to local custom.

Five masked men emerged carrying guns, wielding Somali swords and dragging the handcuffed Mohammed. One pulled back Mohammed’s head, exposing his face as he scraped his sword against his short hair as if to sharpen it. Another recited the Quran as he proclaimed that Mohammed was a “murtid,” an Arabic term for one who converts from Islam to Christianity.

The Muslim militant announced that Mohammed was an infidel and a spy for occupying Ethiopian soldiers.

Mohammed remained calm with an expressionless face, never uttering a word, said the eyewitness. As the chanting of “Allah Akubar [God is greater]” rose to a crescendo, one of the militiamen twisted his head, allowing the other to slit his neck. When the head was finally severed from the torso, the killers cheered as they displayed it to the petrified crowd.

The militants allowed one of their accomplices to take a video of the slaughter using a mobile phone. The video was later circulated secretly and sold in Somalia and in neighboring countries in what many see as a strategy to instill fear among those contemplating conversion from Islam to Christianity....
Will Sanaa Nadim be outraged? What do you think?
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:58 PM
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Lightbulb Indonesian Islamists Focus on Killing Christians, Clergy

Indonesian Islamists Focus on Killing Christians, Clergy

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=13616&size=A

In Jakarta Christian priests and activists first target of Islamic terrorists
by Mathias Hariyadi

Police spokesman reports that following the arrest of dangerous terrorists it is becoming evident that some groups are shifting strategy, focusing primarily on domestic targets, like Christians, in order, among other things, to prevent inter-faith dialogue.




Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Islamic terrorists are moving to a new strategy, opting for attacks against Christian clergymen and activists, targeting vital installations across the country instead of US interests, this according Police spokesman Inspector General Abubakar Nataprawira. Equally the threat of attacks linked to the November execution of three men sentenced for the October 2002 Bali bombings (pictured) remains high.
Inspector General Nataprawira spoke at a press conference, unveiling the results from investigations sparked by the arrest on 21 October in Kelapa Ganding (North Jakarta) of members of a new terror group called Tauhid Wal Jihad.

“They were planning attacks against Christian priests and peace activities involved in peace actions and interfaith activities against terrorism,” the inspector said.

North Jakarta’s main fuel depot in Plumpang owned by Pertamina was also the group’s target list. Also the group was planning to bring weapons into the country and launch a six-month mass drive to recruit new members.
Wahyu, who has been involved in various terrorist attacks in Poso and Ambon (during the 2005-2006 sectarian clashes) and against the police, is among those arrested. He had been on the run since 2005.

Meanwhile some people are wondering whether the brutal assault against Fr Benny Susetyo was part of this strategy.

The clergyman, who is the secretary of Interfaith Dialogue Commission of the Indonesian Bishops of Conference, was savagely beaten by unknown assailants on 11 August in South Jakarta.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:03 PM
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Arrow 133 temples demolished in four years in Malaysia

133 temples demolished in four years in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 29 : According to an official count, as many as 96 Hindu and 37 Buddhist temples were demolished in Selangor, in Malaysia, between 2004 and last year.

State Executive Council member Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said the demolitions were carried out by the local authorities.

According to nstonline.com, so far this year, 54 new applications had been approved by the committee tasked with regulating non-Muslim places of worship. Among the applications are for 25 Hindu temples, 19 Buddhist temples and 10 churches.

Dr Xavier, who was answering a question from Lee Ying Ha, said that although the applications had been approved by the committee, they would still need approval by the state executive council before the new places of worship could be built.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:44 PM
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Blogging the Qur’an: Suras 61, “The Ranks,” and 62, “The Congregation”

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/023321.php#more

About the Medinan sura 61 Abdullah bin Salam, one of the Companions of Muhammad, tells this story: “We asked, ‘Who among us should go to the Messenger and ask him about the dearest actions to Allah?’ None among us volunteered. The Messenger sent a man to us and that man gathered us and recited this Surah, Surat As-Saff, in its entirety.”

So what are among the “dearest actions to Allah”? Allah “loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array” (v. 4). He dislikes those believers who say they have done things they didn’t do. Ibn Kathir explains: “Some said that it was revealed about the gravity of fighting in battle, when one says that he fought and endured the battle, even though he did not do so. Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said that this Ayah [verse] was sent down to admonish some people who used to say that they killed, fought, stabbed, and did such and such during battle, even though they did not do any of it.”

Allah reminds these phonies that Moses warned his people not to annoy him, since they knew he was Allah’s messenger. But once they did, Allah let them go astray (v. 5). He also reminds them that Jesus came to tell the Jews that his message confirmed that of the Torah, and that he was the precursor of a messenger who would come after him, whose name would be Ahmad. But the people would dismiss Jesus’ miracles as “sorcery” (v. 6) – recalling their dismissal of Moses (28:36) and Muhammad (28:48).

“Ahmad” means “the Most Praised One,” and it is etymologically related to Muhammad, which means “Praised One.” Pickthall drives the connection home by translating “Ahmad” simply as “Praised One.” And Muslims universally understand the verse as depicting Jesus predicting the coming of Muhammad.

Muslims contend that this prophecy is the uncorrupted version of the words of Jesus that survive in corrupted form in John 14:16-17, where Jesus says: “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”

“Counselor” here is παρακλητος, Paracletos or Paraclete. Some Islamic apologists have claimed that this is a corruption of περικλυτος, Periclytos, which means “famous” or “renowned,” i.e., “Praised One.” However, there is no textual evidence whatsoever for this: no manuscripts of the New Testament exist that use the word περικλυτος in this place. Nor is it likely that the two words might have been confused. That kind of confusion may be theoretically possible in Arabic, which does not write vowels and hence would present two words with identical consonant structures. But Greek does write vowels, and so the words would never in Greek have appeared as even close to identical.

Then Allah excoriates the man who “invents falsehood against Allah, even as he is being invited to Islam” (v. 7) – that is, says Ibn Kathir, “none is more unjust than he who lies about Allah and calls upon rivals and associates partners with Him, even while he is being invited to Tawhid [the divine unity] and sincerely worshipping Him.” They want to extinguish Allah’s light and hate his religion (v. 9), but, in the words of the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, “it is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail, that He may raise it over all other religions, over all the religions which oppose it, though the disbelievers be averse to this.”

Allah will admit the believers to Paradise (v. 12) and grant them victory (v. 13). One of the Jews believed in Jesus and some didn’t – Allah granted victory to those who did (v. 14). This is referring, of course, to Jesus the prophet of Islam. In explaining this verse, Ibn Kathir outlines the Muslim view of both Jews and Christians. The Jews “rejected what ‘Isa brought them, denied his prophethood and invented terrible lies about him and his mother. They are the Jews, may Allah curse them until the Day of Judgment.” The Christians, meanwhile, “exaggerated over ‘Isa, until they elevated him to more than the level of prophethood that Allah gave him. They divided into sects and factions, some saying that ‘Isa was the son of Allah, while others said that he was one in a trinity, and this is why they invoke the father, the son and the holy ghost! Some of them said that `Isa was Allah…”

The Medinan sura 62 features the claim that Muhammad was illiterate (v. 2). Islamic apologists refer frequently to this claim in order to throw into sharp relief what they consider to be the miraculous character of the Qur’an. This sublime book of poetry, they say, could not have been written by any ordinary man — and certainly not by one who was illiterate.

However, this claim has no actual Qur’anic support at all. As Daniel Ali has pointed out, Islamic commentators base their claims on the Arabic word ome, which they translate as “illiterate.” This is one meaning of the word. However, it has another meaning that has nothing to do with reading or writing. The Qur’an’s use of the word establishes that this meaning is the one it is using. V. 2 says, “It is He that sent forth among the omeyeen [the plural of ome] an apostle of their own....” This same word is repeated in many other places in the Koran, including 2:78, 3:20, 3:75, and 7:157-158. Almost all Muslim scholars interpret the word omeyeen in these passages as meaning “illiterate.”

Yet if the word omeyeen refers to illiteracy, v. 2 would be saying that Allah sent forth to all illiterates one of their own. The unlikelihood of this is reinforce by the fact that in classical Arabic, omeyeen never referred to illiterates or to illiteracy. It refers to non-Jewish people: v. 2 is saying that Allah has sent a gentile apostle to the gentiles. Omeyeen is an adjectival form of the Arabic noun for gentiles, and not all gentiles were illiterate during the time of Muhammad.

The rest of the sura contains the usual excoriations of unbelievers, plus a reminder to respond to the Call to Prayer on Friday (vv. 9-11). There is a chilling statement: “Say: ‘O ye that stand on Judaism! If ye think that ye are friends to Allah, to the exclusion of other men, then express your desire for death, if ye are truthful!” (v. 6). This has become a staple theme of contemporary jihadism: not long after 9/11, an Afghani jihadist declared: “The Americans lead lavish lives and they are afraid of death. We are not afraid of death. The Americans love Pepsi Cola, we love death.” Such love, according to this verse, is a sign of friendship with Allah.

(Here you can find links to all the earlier “Blogging the Qur’an” segments. Here is a good Arabic Qur’an, with English translations available; here are two popular Muslim translations, those of Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, along with a third by M. H. Shakir. Here is another popular translation, that of Muhammad Asad. And here is an omnibus of ten Qur’an translations.)

‘Isa, the Muslim Jesus

http://www.answering-islam.org/Intro/islamic_jesus.html

by Dr Mark Durie
"The word Christian is not a valid word, for there is no religion of Christianity according to Islam". — www.answering-christianity.com
Today we increasingly hear and read that Christianity and Islam ‘share’ Jesus, that he belongs to both religions. So also with Abraham: there is talk of the West’s ‘Abrahamic civilization’ where once people spoke of ‘Judeo-Christian civilization’. This shift of thinking reflects the growing influence of Islam.

These notes offer some information and reflections on the ‘Muslim Jesus’, to help put this trend in its proper context.

References in brackets are to the Qur’an. Numbering systems for the Qur’anic verses are not standardized: be prepared to search through nearby verses for the right one.

Islam the primordial faith
Islam regards itself, not as a subsequent faith to Judaism and Christianity, but as the primordial religion, the faith from which Judaism and Christianity are subsequent developments. In the Qur’an we read that Abraham ‘was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a monotheist, a Muslim’ (Âl 'Imran 3:66). So it is Muslims, and not Christians or Jews, who are the true representatives of the faith of Abraham to the world today. (Al-Baqarah 2:135)

The Biblical prophets were all Muslims
Many prophets of the past received the one religion of Islam. (Ash-Shura 42:13) Who were these previous prophets? According to Al-An’am 6:85-87 they include Ibrahim (Abraham), ‘Ishaq (Issac), Yaqub (Jacob), Nuh (Noah), Dawud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Ayyub (Job), Yusuf (Joseph), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Zakariyya (Zachariah), Yahya (John the Baptist), ‘Isa (Jesus), Ilyas, Ishmael, Al-Yash’a (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah) and Lut (Lot).

The Muslim ‘Isa (Jesus)
There are two main sources for ‘Isa, the Muslim Jesus. The Qur’an gives a history of his life, whilst the Hadith collections — recollections of Muhammad’s words and deeds — establish his place in the Muslim understanding of the future.

The Qur’an
‘Isa, was a prophet of Islam
Jesus’ true name, according to the Qur’an, was ‘Isa. His message was pure Islam, surrender to Allah. (Âl 'Imran 3:84) Like all the Muslim prophets before him, and like Muhammad after him, ‘Isa was a lawgiver, and Christians should submit to his law. (Âl 'Imran 3:50; Al-Ma’idah 5:48) ‘Isa’s original disciples were also true Muslims, for they said ‘We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered. We are Muslims.’ (Al-Ma’idah 5:111)
‘The Books’

Like other messengers of Islam before him, ‘Isa received his revelation of Islam in the form of a book. (Al-An’am 6:90) ‘Isa’s book is called the Injil or ‘gospel’. (Al-Ma’idah 5:46) The Torah was Moses’ book, and the Zabur (Psalms) were David’s book. So Jews and Christians are ‘people of the Book’. The one religion revealed in these books was Islam. (Âl 'Imran 3:18)
As with previous prophets, ‘Isa’s revelation verified previous prophets’ revelations. (Âl 'Imran 3:49,84; Al-Ma’idah 5:46; As-Saff 61:6) Muhammad himself verified all previous revelations, including the revelation to ‘Isa (An-Nisa’ 4:47), and so Muslims must believe in the revelation which ‘Isa received. (Al-Baqarah 2:136) However, after ‘Isa the Injil was lost in its original form. Today the Qur’an is the only sure guide to ‘Isa’s teaching.

The biography of ‘Isa
According to the Qur’an, ‘Isa was the Messiah. He was supported by the ‘Holy Spirit’. (Al-Baqarah 2:87; Al-Ma’idah 5:110) He is also referred to as the ‘Word of Allah’. (An-Nisa’ 4:171)

‘Isa’s mother Mariam was the daughter of ‘Imran, (Âl 'Imran 3:34,35) — cf the Amram of Exodus 6:20 — and the sister of Aaron (and Moses). (Maryam 19:28) She was fostered by Zachariah (father of John the Baptist). (Âl 'Imran 3:36) While still a virgin (Al-An’am 6:12; Maryam 19:19-21) Mariam gave birth to ‘Isa alone in a desolate place under a date palm tree. (Maryam 19:22ff) (Not in Bethlehem).

‘Isa spoke whilst still a baby in his cradle. (Âl 'Imran 3:46; Al-Ma’idah 5:110; Maryam 19:30) He performed various other miracles, including breathing life into clay birds, healing the blind and lepers, and raising the dead. (Âl 'Imran 3:49; Al-Ma’idah 5:111) He also foretold the coming of Muhammad. (As-Saff 61:6)

‘Isa did not die on a cross
Christians and Jews have corrupted their scriptures. (Âl 'Imran 3:74-77, 113) Although Christians believe ‘Isa died on a cross, and Jews claim they killed him, in reality he was not killed or crucified, and those who said he was crucified lied (An-Nisa’ 4:157). ‘Isa did not die, but ascended to Allah. (An-Nisa’ 4:158) On the day of Resurrection ‘Isa himself will be a witness against Jews and Christians for believing in his death. (An-Nisa’ 4:159)

Christians should accept Islam, and all true Christians will
Christians (and Jews) could not be freed from their ignorance until Muhammad came bringing the Qur’an as clear evidence (Al-Bayyinah 98:1). Muhammad was Allah’s gift to Christians to correct misunderstandings. They should accept Muhammad as Allah’s Messenger, and the Qur’an as his final revelation. (Al-Ma’idah 5:15; Al-Hadid 57:28; An-Nisa’ 4:47)

Some Christians and Jews are faithful and believe truly. (Âl 'Imran 3:113,114) Any such true believers will submit to Allah by accepting Muhammad as the prophet of Islam, i.e. they will become Muslims. (Âl 'Imran 3:198)

Although Jews and pagans will have the greatest enmity against Muslims, it is the Christians who will be ‘nearest in love to the believers’, i.e. to Muslims. (Al-Ma’idah 5:82) True Christians will not love Muhammad’s enemies. (Al-Mujadilah 58:22) In other words, anyone who opposes Muhammad is not a true Christian.

Christians who accept Islam or refuse it
Some Jews and Christians are true believers, accepting Islam: most are transgressors. (Âl 'Imran 3:109)

Many monks and rabbis are greedy for wealth and prevent people from coming to Allah. (At-Taubah 9:34,35)

Christians and Jews who disbelieve in Muhammad will go to hell. (Al-Bayyinah 98:6)

Muslims should not take Christians or Jews for friends. (Al-Ma’idah 5:51) They must fight against Christians and Jews who refuse Islam until they surrender, pay the poll-tax and are humiliated. (At-Taubah 9:29) To this may be added hundreds of Qur’anic verses on the subject of jihad in the path of Allah, as well as the ‘Book of Jihad’ found in all Hadith collections.

Christian beliefs
Christians are commanded not to believe that ‘Isa is the son of God: ‘It is far removed from his transcendent majesty that he should have a son’. (An-Nisa’ 4:171; Al-Furqan 25:2) ‘Isa was simply a created human being, and a slave of Allah. (An-Nisa’ 4:172; Âl 'Imran 3:59)

Christians are claimed by the Qur’an to believe in a family of gods — Father God, mother Mary and ‘Isa the son — but ‘Isa rejected this teaching. (Al-Ma’idah 5:116) The doctrine of the Trinity is disbelief and a painful doom awaits those who believe it. (Al-Ma’idah 5:73)

‘Isa (Jesus) in the Hadith
‘Isa the destroyer of Christianity
The prophet ‘Isa will have an important role in the end times, establishing Islam and making war until he destroys all religions save Islam. He shall kill the Evil One (Dajjal), an apocalyptic anti-Christ figure.

In one tradition of Muhammad we read that no further prophets will come to earth until ‘Isa returns as ‘a man of medium height, or reddish complexion, wearing two light garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head although it will not be wet. He will fight for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill pigs, and abolish the poll-tax. Allah will destroy all religions except Islam. He (‘Isa) will destroy the Evil One and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die’. (Sunan Abu Dawud, 37:4310) The Sahih Muslim has a variant of this tradition: ‘The son of Mary ... will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will ... abolish the poll-tax, and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept charitable gifts.’ (Sahih Muslim 287)

What do these sayings mean? The cross is a symbol of Christianity. Breaking crosses means abolishing Christianity. Pigs are associated with Christians. Killing them is another way of speaking of the destruction of Christianity. Under Islamic law the poll-tax buys the protection of the lives and property of conquered ‘people of the Book’. (At-Taubah 9:29) The abolition of the poll-tax means jihad is restarted against Christians (and Jews) living under Islam, who should convert to Islam, or else be killed or enslaved. The abundance of wealth refers to booty flowing to the Muslims from this conquest. This is what the Muslim ‘Isa will do when he returns in the last days.

Muslim jurists confirm these interpretations: consider, for example, the ruling of Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368).
"... the time and the place for [the poll tax] is before the final descent of Jesus (upon whom be peace). After his final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus' descent (upon him and our Prophet be peace) ..." (The Reliance of the Traveller. Trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller, p. 603).
Ibn Naqib goes on to state that when Jesus returns, he will rule ‘as a follower’ of Muhammad.


Critical Comments on the Muslim ‘Isa (Jesus)
‘Isa not an historical figure
The Qur’an’s ‘Isa is not an historical figure. His identity and role as a prophet of Islam is based solely on supposed revelations to Muhammad over half a millennium after the Jesus of history lived and died.

Jesus’ name was never ‘Isa
Jesus’ mother tongue was Aramaic. In his own lifetime he was called Yeshua in Aramaic, and Jesu in Greek. This is like calling the same person John when speaking English and Jean when speaking French: Jesu, pronounced "Yesoo", is the Greek form of Aramaic Yeshua. (The final -s in Jesu-s is a Greek grammatical ending.) Yeshua is itself a form of Hebrew Yehoshua’, which means ‘the Lord is salvation’. However Yehoshua’ is normally given in English as Joshua. So Joshua and Jesus are variants of the same name.

It is interesting that Jesus' name Yehoshua’ contains within it the proper Hebrew name for God, the first syllable Yeh- being short for YHWH ‘the LORD’.

Yeshua of Nazareth was never called ‘Isa, the name the Qur’an gives to him. Arab-speaking Christians refer to Jesus as Yasou’ (from Yeshua) not ‘Isa.

Jesus did not receive a ‘book’
According to the Qur’an, the ‘book’ revealed to ‘Isa was the Injil. The word Injil is a corrupted form of the Greek euanggelion ‘good news’ or gospel. What was this euanggelion? This was just how Jesus referred to his message: as good news. The expression euanggelion did not refer to a fixed revealed text, and there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus received a ‘book’ of revelation from God.

The ‘gospels’ of the Bible are biographies
The term euanggelion later came to be used as a title for the four biographies of Jesus written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the ‘gospels’. This was a secondary development of meaning. Apparently this is where Muhammad got his mistaken idea of the Injil being a ‘book’.
Most so-called prophets of Islam received no book

Virtually all of the so-called ‘prophets’ of Islam, whose names are taken from the Hebrew scriptures, received no ‘book’ or law code. For example, the Psalms are not a book revealing Islam, as the Qur’an claims, but a collection of songs of worship, only some of which are David’s. There is not a shred of evidence in the Biblical history of David that he received a book of laws for the Israelites. They already had the Torah of Moses to follow. So David was not a prophet in the Qur’an’s sense of this word. Likewise most of the prophets claimed by Islam were neither lawgivers nor rulers.

Biblical prophecy and Islamic prophecy are not the same thing
The Biblical understanding of prophecy is quite different from Muhammad’s. A Biblical prophecy is not regarded as a passage from a heavenly eternally pre-existent text like the Qur’an, but a message from God for a specific time and place. A biblical prophet is someone to whom God reveals hidden things, and who then acts as God’s verbal agent. When a Samaritan woman called Jesus a prophet (John 4:19) it was because he had spoken about things in her life that he could only have known supernaturally. Christianity teaches that Jesus was a prophet, but he brought no ‘book’: he himself was the living ‘Word of God’, a title used of ‘Isa in the Qur’an.
By no means all prophecies referred to in the Bible became part of the Biblical text. The Bible consists of a wide variety of materials originally written for many different purposes, including letters, songs, love poetry, historical narratives, legal texts, proverbial wisdom as well as prophetic passages. These are regarded as inspired by God, but not dictated from a timeless heavenly book.

As prophetic history, the Qur’an contains many errors and anachronisms
The claim that Jesus was not executed by crucifixion is without any historical support. One of the things that all the early sources agree on is Jesus’ crucifixion.

Mariam the mother of ‘Isa is called a sister of Aaron, and also the daughter of Aaron’s father ‘Imran (Hebr. Amram). Clearly Muhammad has confused Mary (Hebr. Miriam) with Miriam of the Exodus. The two lived more than a thousand years apart!

In the Bible Haman is the minister of Ahasuerus in Media and Persia (The Book of Esther 3:1-2). Yet the Qur’an places him over a thousand years earlier, as a minister of Pharoah in Egypt.

The claim that Christians believe in three Gods — Father, son Jesus and mother Mary — is mistaken. The Qur’an is also mistaken to claim that Jews say Ezra was a son of God. (At-Taubah 9:30) The charge of polytheism against Christianity and Judaism is ill-informed and false. (Deuteronomy 6:4, James 2:19a)

The story of the ‘two horned one’ (Al-Kahf 18:82 cf also Daniel 8:3, 20-21) is derived from the Romance of Alexander. Certainly Alexander the Great was no Muslim.

The problem with the name ‘Isa has already been discussed. Other Biblical names are also misunderstood in the Qur’an, and their meanings lost. For example Elisha, which means ‘God is salvation’, is given in the Qur’an as al-Yash’a, turning El ‘God’ into al- ‘the’. (Islamic tradition did the same to Alexander the Great, calling him al-Iskandar ‘the Iskander’). Abraham ‘Father of many’ (cf Genesis 17:5) might have been better represented as something like Aburahim ‘father of mercy’ instead of Ibrahim, which has no meaning in Arabic at all.

The Qur’an has a Samaritan making the golden calf, which was worshipped by the Israelites in the wilderness (Ta Ha 20:85) during the Exodus. In fact it was Aaron (Exodus 34:1-6). The Samaritans did not exist until several centuries later. They were descendants of the northern Israelites centuries after the Exodus.

Many Qur’anic stories can be traced to Jewish and Christian folktales and other apocryphal literature. For example a story of Abraham destroying idols (As-Saffat 37) is found in a Jewish folktale, the Midrash Rabbah. The Qur’anic story of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist, is based upon a second-century Christian fable. The story of Jesus being born under a palm tree is also based on a late fable, as is the story of Jesus making clay birds come alive. Everything the Qur’an says about the life of Jesus which is not found in the Bible can be traced to fables composed more than a hundred years after Jesus’ death.

Jesus’ titles of Messiah and Word of God, which the Qur’an uses, find no explanation in the Qur’an. Yet in the Bible, from which they are taken, these titles are well integrated in a whole theological system.

The Qur’an mentions the Holy Spirit in connection with Jesus, using phrases which come from the gospels. Ibn Ishaq (Life of Muhammad) reports Muhammad as saying that this ‘Spirit’ was the angel Gabriel (cf also An-Nahl 16:102, Al-Baqarah 2:97). However the Biblical phrase ‘Spirit of God’ (Ruach Elohim) or ‘Holy Spirit’ can only be understood in light of the Hebrew scriptures. It certainly does not refer to an angel.

Jesus’ alleged foretelling of Muhammad’s coming (As-Saff 61:6) appears to be based on a garbled reading of John 14:26, a passage which in fact refers to the Spirit.

The Hebrew scriptures were Jesus’ Bible. He affirmed their authority and reliability and preached from them. From these same scriptures he knew God as Adonai Elohim, the Lord God of Israel. He did not call God Allah, which appears to have been the name or title of a pagan Arabian deity worshipped in Mecca before Muhammad. Muhammad's pagan father, who died before Muhammad was born, already bore the name ‘Abd Allah ‘slave of Allah’, and his uncle was called Obeid Allah.


We read that An-Najm 53:19-23 seeks to refute the pagan Arab belief that Allah had daughters named al-Uzza, al-Ilat and Manat. (See also An-Nahl 16:57 and Al-An’am 6:100).

The Biblical narratives are rich with historical details, many confirmed by archaeology. They cover more than a thousand years, and reveal a long process of technological and cultural development. In contrast the Qur’an’s sacred history is devoid of archaeological support. Its fragmentary and disjointed stories offer no authentic reflection of historical cultures. No place name from ancient Israel is mentioned, not even Jerusalem. Many of the supposed historical events reported in the Qur’an have no independent verification. For example we are told that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba in Mecca (Al-Baqarah 2:127), but this is totally without support. The Biblical account, more than a thousand years older, does not place Abraham anywhere near Arabia.

The Qur’an is not a credible source for Biblical history
The Qur’an, written in the 7th century AD, cannot be regarded as having any authority whatsoever to inform us about Jesus of Nazareth. It offers no evidence for its claims about biblical history. Its numerous historical errors reflect a garbled understanding of the Bible.

Islam appropriates the history of Judaism and Christianity to itself
When Muhammad linked the name of Allah to the religious histories of Judaism and Christianity, this was a way to claim them for Islam. In the light of later events, the claim that Islam was the original religion, and that all preceding prophets were Muslims, can be regarded as an attempt to appropriate the histories of other religions for Islam. The effect is to rob Christianity and Judaism of their own histories.

Consider that many Biblical sites, such as the tombs of the Hebrew Patriarchs and the Temple Mount, are claimed by Islam as Muslim sites, not Jewish or Christian ones. After all, the Qur’an tells us that Abraham ‘was a Muslim’. Under Islamic rule all Jews and Christians were banned from such sites.

The place of the Jewish scriptures in Christianity is completely different from the place of the Bible in Islam
There is a fundamental difference between Christian attitudes to the Jewish scriptures and Islamic attitudes to the Bible. Christians accept the Hebrew scriptures. They were the scriptures of Jesus and the apostles. They were the scriptures of the early church. The whole of Christian belief and practice rests upon them. Core Christian concepts such as ‘Messiah’ (Greek ‘Christos’), ‘Spirit of God’, ‘Kingdom of God’ and ‘salvation’ are deeply rooted in the Hebrew Biblical traditions.

We note also that Christian seminaries devote considerable effort to studying the Hebrew scriptures. This is an integral part of training for Christian ministry. The Hebrew scriptures are read (in translation) every Sunday in many churches all around the world.

In contrast Islam’s treatment of the Bible is one of complete disregard. Although it purports to ‘verify’ all earlier prophetic revelation, the Qur’an is oblivious to the real contents of the Bible. The claim that Christians and Jews deliberately corrupted their scriptures is made without evidence, and this only serves to cover up the Qur’an’s historical inadequacies. Muslim scholars rarely have an informed understanding of the Bible or of biblical theology and so remain ignorant of these realities.

Some contemporary Muslim voices on Jesus
Yasser Arafat, addressing a press conference at the United Nations in 1983 called Jesus "the first Palestinian fedayeen who carried his sword" (i.e. he was a freedom fighter for Islam).

Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi, employee of the Palestinian Authority, broadcast live in April 2002 on Palestinian Authority television: "The Jews await the false Jewish messiah, while we await, with Allah's help... Jesus, peace be upon him. Jesus's pure hands will murder the false Jewish messiah. Where? In the city of Lod, in Palestine."

Author Shamim A. Siddiqi of Flushing, New York put the classical position of Islam towards Christianity clearly in a recent letter to Daniel Pipes, New York Post columnist:
"Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were all prophets of Islam. Islam is the common heritage of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim community of America, and establishing the Kingdom of God is the joint responsibility of all three Abrahamic faiths. Islam was the din (faith, way of life) of both Jews and Christians, who later lost it through human innovations. Now the Muslims want to remind their Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters of their original din [religion]. These are the facts of history."
This historical negationism — appearing to affirm Christianity and Judaism whilst in fact rejecting and supplanting them — is a lynchpin of Muslim apologetics. What is being affirmed is in fact neither Christianity nor Judaism, but Jesus as a prophet of Islam, Moses as a Muslim etc. This is intended to lead to ‘reversion’ of Christians and Jews to Islam, which is what Siddiqi refers to when he speaks of ‘the joint responsibility’ of Jews and Christians to establish ‘the Kingdom of God’. By this he means that American Christians and Jews should work to establish shari’ah law and the rule of Islam in the United States.

Conclusion
‘Isa (Jesus) of the Qur’an is a product of fable, imagination and ignorance. When Muslims venerate this ‘Isa, they have someone different in mind from the Yeshua or Jesus of the Bible and of history. The ‘Isa of the Qur’an is based on no recognized form of historical evidence, but on fables current in seventh century Arabia.

For most faithful Muslims ‘Isa is the only Jesus they know. But if one accepts this Muslim ‘Jesus’, then one also accepts the Qur’an: one accepts Islam. Belief in this ‘Isa is won at the cost of the libel that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures, a charge that is without historical support. Belief in this ‘Isa implies that much of Christian and Jewish history is in fact Islamic history.

The Jesus of the gospels is the base upon which Christianity developed. By Islamicizing him, and making of him a Muslim prophet who preached the Qur’an, Islam destroys Christianity and takes over all its history. It does the same to Judaism.

In the end times as described by Muhammad, ‘Isa becomes a warrior who will return with his sword and lance. He will destroy the Christian religion and make Islam the only religion in all the world. Finally at the last judgement he will condemn Christians to hell for believing in the crucifixion and the incarnation.

This final act of the Muslim ‘Isa reflects Islam’s apologetic strategy in relation to Christianity, which is to deny the Yeshua of history, and replace him with a facsimile of Muhammad, so that nothing remains but Islam.
"The Muslim supersessionist current claims that the whole biblical history of Israel and Christianity is Islamic history, that all the Prophets, Kings of Israel and Judea, and Jesus were Muslims. That the People of the Book should dare to challenge this statement is intolerable arrogance for an Islamic theologian. Jews and Christians are thus deprived of their Holy Scriptures and of their salvific value."
— Bat Ye’or in Islam and Dhimmitude: where civilizations collide, p.370.
__________________
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”


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Exclamation Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has branded Christmas "evil"

Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has branded Christmas "evil"



Choudary sai Christmas was 'the pathway to hellfire'.

The lawyer, who recently praised the Mumbai terror attacks, urged all Muslims to reject traditional Christmas celebrations, claiming that they are forbidden by Allah.

The 41-year-old shocked Christians and even those of his own faith by branding yuletide festivities as "the pathway to hellfire".

Choudary, who is chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers, ruled out all celebrations, including having a Christmas tree, decorating the house or eating turkey.

In the sermon posted on an Islamic website, he said: "In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas.

"Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners.

"Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah.

"Many still practise this corrupt celebration as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus.

"How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring?

"The very concept of Christmas contradicts and conflicts with the foundation of Islam.

"Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire. Protect your Paradise from being taken away – protect yourself and your family from Christmas."

Choudary is Principal Lecturer at the London School of Shari'ah and a follower of the Islamist militant leader Omar Bakri Mohammed.

Earlier this year, he led a meeting at the heart of the area where the liquid bombers lived, which warned of a British September 11.
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Exclamation Nigeria: Six Christian pastors killed, 40 churches razed in post-election attacks by

Nigeria: Six Christian pastors killed, 40 churches razed in post-election attacks by Muslims


As smoke clears, mayhem ignited by Muslim attacks leaves 25,000 people displaced.



Joseph Yari

JOS, Nigeria, December 11 (Compass Direct News) – The murderous rioting sparked by Muslim attacks on Christians and their property on Nov. 28-29 left six pastors dead, at least 500 other people killed and 40 churches destroyed, according to church leaders.

More than 25,000 persons have been displaced in the two days of violence, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

What began as outrage over suspected vote fraud in local elections quickly hit the religious fault line that quakes from time to time in this city located between the Islamic north and Christian south, as angry Muslims took aim at Christian sites rather than at political targets. Police and troops reportedly killed about 400 rampaging Muslims in an effort to quell the unrest, and Islamists shot, slashed or stabbed to death most of more than 100 Christians.

Among Christians killed was Joseph Yari of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Angwan Clinic,Tudun-Wada in Jos. On Nov. 28, his wife Mary Yari told Compass, he had returned from his workplace along Ibrahim Taiwo Road saying he was going to a Baptist church that Muslims were setting on fire.

“Shortly after my husband left, I heard anguished cries, only to be told that my husband had been shot dead on the premises of the church,” Yari said.

Her grief notwithstanding, she said she had forgiven the killers, as “they were ignorant of the crime they have committed because they do not know Jesus Christ.”

The Rev. Emmanuel Kyari, pastor of Christ Baptist Church, Tudun-Wada, told Compass that Joseph Yari died helping other Christians who repelled Muslim fanatics bent on burning down his church building.

“Yari was standing beside my wife when he was shot by Muslims,” Rev. Kyari said. “In addition to Yari who was killed, there were also three other Christians who were shot, and two died instantly.”


Mary Yari

Among the six slain pastors was the Rev. Ephraim Masok, pastor of the ECWA Church in the Rikkos area of Jos, who had moved his family out of harm’s way and was returning to the church premises when Muslim fanatics attacked and killed him. Rev. Masok was buried on Saturday (Dec. 6).

A Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) leader in the Chawlyap area identified only as Pastor James was killed in the rioting that left Jos skies covered in smoke, as was the Rev. Bulus Tsetu of an Assemblies of God church. Names of the other three slain clergymen from Roman Catholic, Baptist and Deeper Life Bible churches were not readily available, but their deaths were confirmed, according to church leaders.

Rev. Kyari and the Rev. Benjamin Nasara of ECWA Plateau Church provided the casualty figures to Compass.

Among the 40 destroyed churches in Jos, they said, was the ECWA Church, Rikkos; Kaunar Baptist Church, Rikkos; Christ Baptist Church, Tudun-Wada; Nasarawa Baptist Church; Adebayo Street First Baptist Church; Sarkin Mangu COCIN Church; ECWA Church Kunga; Victory Baptist Church, Gofang; Deeper Life Bible Church, Ungwar Rimi; and Emmanuel Baptist Church, also at Ungwar Rimi.

Other Christians killed by Muslims in the rioting, the church leaders said, were Nenfort Danbaba of the ECWA Plateau Church and Oluwaleke Olalekan Akande of the Anglican Church from Ibadan, in southwestern Nigeria, who was on duty with the National Youth Service Program in Jos at the time of the crisis.

At the funeral service of Akande on Tuesday (Dec. 9), the Rev. Joseph Olatunde Alamu of the Cathedral Church of St. David, Kudeti, Ibadan, said young Christian men killed in the violence did not die in vain.

“Like the blood of Abel cried out for justice, they will not die in vain,” he said. “God will revenge.”

Akande’s parents also spoke at his funeral service.

“God knows why it happened that way,” Akande’s father, 84-year-old Pa J.A. Akande, said. “Oluwaleke, you will be remembered always for your love, steadfastness, courage, obedience and other attributes of your life with which you were endowed by your Maker. Sleep well in the bosom of your Maker.”

Akande’s mother, Madam Akande, told those attending the funeral that her 28-year-old son was too young to die.

“Little did I realize that your telephone call to me on Thursday, the 27th of November, 2008 would be our last conversation,” she said. “No leaf can fall from the tree without the authority, power and knowledge of God. And so I believe you shall rest peacefully in the bosom of our Lord Jesus.”

Akande was a graduate of physics/electronics at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, doing his one-year mandatory national service to Plateau State when he was murdered.

Rev. Nasara of ECWA Plateau Church told Compass that church history shows “the blood of the martyrs brings about the birth of the church. We see these ones who have gone ahead of us as the seeds that God is using to make the church in Jos North and Plateau state to germinate.”

Pre-Meditated Violence?
Rioting erupted in Jos in the wee hours of Nov. 28 while results of local council elections held the previous day were still being awaited. In the Nov. 27 elections, according to reports, Muslims in Jos North who suspected vote fraud – specifically, the late arrival of election materials to polling sites – raised a lament, and by 1 a.m. on Nov. 28 Muslim youth had begun burning tires, schools and churches.

The killing of non-Muslims followed in the early morning. Muslims began attacking Christians in areas such as Nasarawa Gwong, Congo-Russia, Rikkos, Ali Kazaure, Bauchi Road, Dutse Uku, Ungwar Rimi, and Tudun-Wada. Commands to defy authorities and join the “jihad” blared from a mosque loudspeaker in the Dilimi area, according to advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide, including instructions to ignore a night-time curfew and attack anew.

Authorities’ efforts to halt the rampage, including a Muslim assault on a police barracks, accounted for the estimated 400 corpses reportedly deposited in a key mosque, according to CSW, citing security sources.

Christians tried to defend their lives and properties, and non-Muslim youths reportedly began retaliatory attacks on Muslims, mosques and Muslim houses in the early morning. The Nigerian military arrived before noon to try to rein in the mayhem, which continued into the night.

At the end of two days, hundreds of persons from both sides of the religious divide were killed, with others injured and hospitalized at Jos University Teaching Hospital, ECWA Evangel Hospital, OLA Hospital and Plateau State Specialist Hospital.

More than 25,000 displaced persons have taken refuge at Rukuba Military barracks, NDLEA (Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency) Barracks and Police Headquarters and Barracks, according to NEMA.

Rev. Nasara said the displacement of people who have lost their homes has had a severe affect on Jos churches.

“Right now I have two families and some Christian students from the university here, making up a total of 12 persons, who were displaced, and I have to take them in here in my house,” he said.

The Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Roman Catholic archbishop of Jos Archdiocese and Plateau state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said in a statement that fanatical Muslims ignited the violence by attacking Christians.

“We were greatly taken aback by the turn of events in Jos – we thought it was a political issue, but from all indications it is not so,” he said. “We were surprised at the way some of our churches and properties were attacked and some of our faithful and clergy killed. The attacks were carefully planned and executed. The questions that bog our minds are: Why were churches and clergy attacked and killed? Why were politicians and political party offices not attacked, if it was a political conflict?”

Businesses and property of innocent civilians were destroyed, he added.

“We strongly feel that it was not political but a pre-meditated act under the guise of elections,” Kaigama said.

Plateau Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Edward Pwajok said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec. 9) that 500 persons had been arrested in connection with the violence, and that they will appear for trial at the High Court of Justice and Magistrates Courts.
On Sept. 7, 2001, religious conflict in Jos resulted in more than four years of bloodshed, killing thousands of people and displacing thousands of others. In 2004 an estimated 700 people died in Yelwa, also in Plateau state, during Christian-Muslim clashes.
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation Indonesia: Muslims burn Christian church, riot

Indonesia: Muslims burn Christian church, riot

http://www.speroforum.com/site/artic...h+in+Indonesia

Violence ensued when Muslims accused a teacher of blasphemy. Police attempted to restore order in the Moluccan Islands of Indonesia, while stores and offices are closed.

A group of 500 Muslims wreaked havoc and spread panic in Masohi, in the Moluccan Islands, during clashes with police and local Christians. As a result, 45 homes, a church and a village hall were set alight. The spark that set off the violence is an incident in which a teacher allegedly insulted Islam in front of some Muslim students.

Once the story spread, the local Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) mobilised, rallying some 500 people in front of the Central Maluku Education Agency. For more than an hour they protested, accusing the teacher of blasphemy and calling for his dismissal. Afterwards, the protesters marched to police headquarters near the school. When they were told that the police chief was out of town, most of the demonstrators left but a group remained to confront the police. The violence spread and resulted in the burning of Christian homes and a church.

News about the incident in Masohi spread across Seram Island and rekindled memories of the Moluccan War of 1999-2000 when Muslims and Christians clashed, with thousands of deaths. Police are on a heightened state of alert while stores and offices are closed as a precautionary measure. Law enforcement authorities have identified those responsible for the clashes. For his part the teacher who sparked the incident is currently in police custody.
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Lightbulb An Analysis of Al-Qaeda's Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?

An Analysis of Al-Qaeda's Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?



By analyzing what al-Qa'ida preaches to Muslims regarding Islam's relationship to the non-Muslim world at large, and what it states to the West are its reasons for battling it, this essay seeks to highlight the many disparities behind al-Qa'ida's words. Juxtaposed in themes, the following excerpts are all derived from Usama bin Ladin's and Ayman al-Zawahiri's writings and speeches as found in The Al Qa'ida Reader.[1]

Is al-Qa'ida waging war on the United States--issuing a fatwa to "kill the Americans and seize their money"[2] (p. 13)in retaliation to U.S. oppression, or is this animosity founded on something else? Is it mere reciprocity or is it a religion-based ideology? Talking to the West, al-Qa'ida insists it is reciprocal treatment; talking to fellow Muslims it insists that Islam demands this animosity. Consider the following discrepancies:

When addressing the United States, bin Ladin writes in response to the rhetorical question "Why we [al-Qa'ida] are fighting you," "[b]ecause you attacked us and continue to attack us." (p. 197) In fact, reciprocal treatment has been al-Qa'ida's sole justification for all the terrorist acts it has perpetrated against the West. The West attacks Muslims----for oil, Israel, land, or "Crusader" hatred----and al-Qa'ida retaliates on behalf of Muslims.

Even the September 11 strikes are rationalized as mere acts of reciprocity. After describing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, where a massive bombing campaign leveled several high-rise apartment buildings and left thousands of Arabs dead, bin Ladin said, "[A]s I looked upon those crumbling towers in Lebanon, I was struck by the idea of punishing the oppressor in kind by destroying towers in America----giving them a taste of their own medicine and deterring them from murdering our women and children." (p. 215)

After September 11, when several more terrorist acts were committed around the world, targeting mostly Europeans, bin Ladin declared:

The events that have taken place since the attacks on Washington and New York [September 11]----such as the killing of Germans in Tunisia, the French in Karachi, the bombing of the giant French tanker in Yemen, the killing of marines in Failaka, of British and Australians in the Bali explosions, the recent operation in Moscow, and various other sporadic operations[3]--are all reactions of reciprocity, carried out by the zealous sons of Islam in defense of their faith and in response to the order of their Lord and Prophet. [p. 231]

After the bombings in Madrid, where 191 people were killed and 1460 injured, bin Ladin again addressed the Europeans:

There is a lesson [to be learned] regarding what happens in occupied Palestine and what happened on September 11 and March 11 [Madrid train bombings, killing 191 and injuring 1,460]: These are your goods returned to you. It is well understood that security is a vital necessity for all of mankind--though we do not agree that you should monopolize it for yourself. [p. 234]

After the July 2004 London bombings, Zawahiri addressed the citizens of the United Kingdom thus: "I speak to you today about the blessed raid[4] on London that... made it take a sip from the same glass from which it had long made the Muslims drink.... So taste some of what you have made us taste." (p. 238)

There is no question, then, that al-Qa'ida's defense for committing all these acts of terrorism is that it is merely, as bin Ladin puts it, returning the West's "goods"--that is, "terrorism"--back to itself. Such a defense is plausible--provided, of course, that the West is guilty of initiating the terror. Under this interpretation, al-Qa'ida gouges the West's eye since the West first gouged Islam's eye.

Moreover, this defense is ultimately rooted in the "universal" concept of justice. Most people around the world, irrespective of religion or race, understand the concept of crime and punishment. And the Torah's "eye for an eye" injunction has been the standard for many people--no doubt due to its primordial, and thus universal, sensibilities. Yet even though al-Qa'ida implies that it is acting under some sort of "universal law" that both Muslims and non-Muslims can appreciate, that is not fully true. For Muslims there is only one particular set of laws that are to be adhered to--Shari'a --and even if Shari'a contradicts something that non-Muslims consider a "universal right"--such as equality--still, Shari'a must have the final word.


When a group of Muslim scholars wrote to the Americans saying that there should be equality, justice, and freedom, between the West and Islam, bin Ladin had this to say about it:
[The Muslims' declaration] came supporting the United Nations and their humanistic articles, which revolve around three principles: equality, freedom, and justice. Nor do they mean equality, freedom, and justice as was revealed by the Prophet Muhammad [Shari'a]. No, they mean the West's despicable notions, which we see today in America and Europe, and which have made the people like cattle. [p. 26]

Islam, or "submission" to Allah, is the ultimate form of justice, the Islamists argue; everything else, depending on how far it deviates from Shari'a is oppression, injustice, and corruption. To be sure, under Shari'a, Muslims are to defend themselves against infidel aggression--to wage a "Defensive Jihad" as al-Qa'ida claims to be doing. Indeed, most of Shari'a's divine guidelines concerning jihad have to do with the legitimacy and obligation of waging Offensive Jihad, simply to gain territory and lord over infidels; how necessary is Defensive Jihad, then, when there is a need to repulse the infidel from Islamic lands?[5]

However, Shari'a has other notions--equally binding according to Islamists like those who make up its leadership--that do not comport so well with al-Qa'ida's claim that all this terrorism is simply due to Western aggression and Muslim retaliation. In other words, under Shari'a law, even if the West completely ceased all its hostilities, real or imagined, against the Islamic world, total peace would still not commence. Under Shari'a, permanent peace can only commence when the entire world either embraces or at the very least is governed by Islam.[6]

Discussing the need to overthrow those Muslim "apostate" governments that do not rule in accordance to Shari'a, bin Ladin, addressing Americans, says: "The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Islamic umma [community], make Shari'a law supreme, and regain Palestine. Our fight against these governments is one with our fight against you." (p. 199)

Ayman al-Zawahiri similarly exhorts Muslims:

We also extend our hands to every Muslim zealous over making Islam triumph till they join us in a course of action to save the umma from its painful reality. [This course of action] consists of staying clear of idolatrous tyrants, warfare against infidels, loyalty to the believers, and jihadin the path of Allah. Such is a course of action that all who are vigilant for the triumph of Islam should vie in, giving and sacrificing in the cause of liberating the lands of the Muslims, making Islam supreme in its [own] land, and then spreading it around the world. [p. 113]

That last sentence--"making Islam supreme in its [own] land, and then spreading it around the world"--raises questions regarding al-Qa'ida's statements to the West, the fundamental one being: Even if all of the West's perceived or real hostilities vis-à-vis the Islamic world were to cease, would Islam then be at peace with the outside world?

Concerning this question, bin Ladin has been forthright--though only when speaking to fellow Muslims. "Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West" (p. 17-61)--the most revealing and straightforward document produced by al-Qa'ida--puts its vision of Islam's relationship with the rest of the world in clear context.

In this essay, Muslims (in the guise of Saudi intellectuals who, in response to a letter of cooperation[7] written by Americans, responded with their own letter[8]) are chastised for even daring to want to coexist with the infidel West. Bin Ladin makes clear that the animosity between the Muslim and the infidel--which should always be "directed from the Muslim to the infidel" (p. 43)--far transcends any talk of grievances.

UNIVERSAL JUSTICE VS. SHARI'A JUSTICE

Here, the concept of "universal justice," which al-Qa'ida constantly makes appeals to in its messages to the West, is ridiculed with contempt. For example, when writing to the Europeans bin Ladin said: "I call upon just men--especially ulama [scholars], media, and businessmen--to form a permanent commission to enlighten the European peoples of the justice of our causes, particularly Palestine." (p. 235)

Yet when the Saudi intellectuals wrote, "the heart of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is justice, kindness, and charity--this is the equity that Allah loves and has commanded us with [p. 42]," bin Ladin was quick to clarify what true justice is:

As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarized by the Most High's Word: "You have a good example in Abraham and those with him. They said to their people: ‘We disown you and what you worship besides Allah. We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us--till you believe in Allah alone' " [Koran 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility, and an internal hate from the heart. And this fierce hostility--that is, battle--ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [a dhimmi],[9] or if the Muslims are [at that point in time] weak and incapable [of spreading Shari'alaw to the world]. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the hearts, this is great apostasy; the one who does this [extinguishes the hate from his heart] will stand excuseless before Allah. Allah Almighty's Word to His Prophet recounts in summation the true relationship: "O Prophet! Wage war against the infidels and hypocrites and be ruthless. Their abode is hell--an evil fate!" [Koran 9:73]. Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity, and hatred--directed from the Muslim to the infidel--is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them. The West perceives fighting, enmity, and hatred all for the sake of the religion as unjust, hostile, and evil. But who's understanding is right--our notions of justice and righteousness, or theirs? [p. 43]

The Saudi intellectuals had tried to clarify to the West that all peoples--irrespective of religion--were entitled to justice and should never be oppressed: "Justice between people is their right, while oppression between them is forbidden--no matter what their religion, color, or nationality is" [p. 44]. When addressing and accusing the West, al-Qa'ida has relied on similar language. Writing to the Americans bin Ladin, implying that he shares universal notions of justice and injustice, sarcastically asked, "How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O you ‘callers to freedom?'" (p. 204)

Yet writing to the Saudis, bin Ladin clarifies al-Qa'ida's true notions of oppression and injustice:

As for the word "oppression," those addressed [Americans] take it to mean being placed under the authority of Islam by the sword, as the Prophet did with the infidels. They think that something that denies them [the freedom] to pursue obscenities, atheism and blasphemy, and idolatry is an "oppression." They think that an attack launched against their ground, as in an Offensive Jihad, is an "injustice." And so forth. Then come the [intellectuals] declaring that justice is a right while oppression is forbidden. If they mean justice and oppression, as understood by those addressed... then this is a great calamity, and a blasphemous conversation.... As for oppression, the only oppression is to forsake them in their infidelity, and not use jihad as a means to make them enter into the faith--as the Prophet did with them. [pp. 45-46]

UNIVERSAL COMMONALITIES VS. OFFENSIVE JIHAD

In fact, Offensive Jihad, something about which al-Qa'ida dissembles vis-à-vis the West, figures prominently in bin Ladin's diatribe to the Saudi intellectuals. In 1997, a direct question was asked of bin Ladin by a Westerner: "Mr. bin Ladin, will the end of the United States' presence in Saudi Arabia, their withdrawal, will that end your call for jihad against the United States?" Bin Ladin responded:

The cause of the reaction must be sought and the act that has triggered this reaction must be eliminated. The reaction came as a result of the U.S.' aggressive policy towards the entire Muslim world and not just towards the Arabian Peninsula. So if the cause that has called for this act comes to an end, this act, in turn, will come to an end. So, the Defensive Jihad against the U.S. does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian Peninsula, but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world.[10]

However, bin Ladin's ultimate motives became apparent after the Saudi intellectuals wrote: "Thus we say in all earnestness and plainly that we can open a mature dialogue around every issue that the West submits, ever cognizant that we share a number of understandings, moral values, rights, and ideas with the West, which, if fostered, can create a better [world] for all concerned" (p. 37)

To this "blasphemy," bin Ladin wrote extensively:

Regarding which shared understandings, exactly, is it possible that we agree with the immoral West?... What commonalities, if our foundations contradict, rendering useless the shared extremities--if they even exist? For practically everything valued by the immoral West is condemned under sharia law.... [T]he issues most prominent in the West revolve around secularism, homosexuality, sexuality, and atheism [p. 37].... As for this atmosphere of shared understandings, what evidence is there for Muslims to strive for this? What did the Prophet, the Companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihadagainst the infidels, attacking them all over the earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover "shared understandings" between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread--in such a satanic manner as this? The sharia provides a true and just path, securing Muslims, and providing peace to the world [p. 31].

Moreover, when the Saudi intellectuals dared write: "It's imperative that we bid all to legitimate talks, presented to the world, under the umbrella of justice, morality, and rights, ushering in legislations creating peace and prosperity for the world," [p. 31] bin Ladin lamented:

Surely there is no power save through Allah alone! We never thought that such words would ever appear from those who consider themselves adherents of this religion. Such expressions, and more like them, would lead the reader to believe that those who wrote them are Western intellectuals, not Muslims! Those previous expressions are true only by tearing down the wall of enmity from the infidels. They are also expressions true only by rejecting jihad--especially Offensive Jihad. The problem, however, is that Offensive Jihadis an established and basic tenet of this religion. It is a religious duty rejected only by the most deluded. So how can they call off this religious obligation [Offensive Jihad], while imploring the West to understandings and talks "under the umbrella of justice, morality, and rights"? The essence of all this comes from right inside the halls of the United Nations, instead of the Divine foundations that are built upon hating the infidels, repudiating them with tongue and teeth till they embrace Islam or pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission and humility.... Muslims, and especially the learned among them, should spread sharia law to the world--that and nothing else. Not laws under the "umbrella of justice, morality, and rights" as understood by the masses. No, the sharia of Islam is the foundation. [pp. 32-33]

FREEDOM VS. TERRORISM

Al-Qa'ida has maintained that its hostilities to the West have absolutely nothing to do with the latter's freedoms. Speaking to the Americans, bin Ladin asserted, "From the start, I tell you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life; free men do not underestimate their security--contrary to [President George W.] Bush's claim that we hate freedom. [11] If so, let him explain to us why we have not attacked Sweden, for instance." [p. 214].

Speaking to the Europeans, bin Ladin tries to define terrorism: "[W]e inform you that your description of us as ‘terrorists' and our actions as ‘terrorism' necessarily means that you and your actions must be defined likewise. Our actions are merely reactions to yours...." (p. 234)

Finally, bin Ladin makes it quite clear that terrorism is used only in reciprocity since al-Qa'ida has no other choice: "Shall a man be blamed for protecting his own? Self-defense and punishing the wicked in kind--are these shameful [acts of] ‘terrorism'? And even if it is, we have no other option." (p. 216)

Taken together, all these messages assert that the terror al-Qa'ida inflicts upon the West has nothing to do with Western freedoms and everything to do with reciprocal treatment. Moreover, by stating "we have no other option" than to engage in acts of terrorism, bin Ladin clearly implies that terrorism is being relied upon as a last resort out of desperation. Thus al-Qa'ida maintains that there is no correlation between Western freedoms and Islamic terrorism--that the latter is never used simply to suppress the former.

This is not the case when addressing the Saudis. After they wrote to the Americans saying that Islam does not allow coercion in matters of religion, bin Ladin, once again, revealed his true beliefs and ultimate goals. The Saudi intellectuals had declared, "It is not permitted to coerce anyone regarding his religion. Allah Most High said: ‘There is no compulsion in religion' [Koran 2:256]. Thus Islam itself does not comport with coercion." (p. 40) After explaining that this verse has to do with matters of the heart and not Islam's destiny to rule the whole world,[12] bin Ladin quotes the Hadith:

Whenever the Messenger of Allah appointed someone as leader of an army or detachment, he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and be good to the Muslims with him. Then he would say: "Attack in the name of Allah and in the path of Allah do battle with whoever rejects Allah. Attack!... If you happen upon your idolatrous enemies, call them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, accept it and stay yourself from them. [1] Call them to Islam: If they respond [i.e., convert], accept this and cease fighting them..... [2] If they refuse to accept Islam, demand of them the jizya: If they respond, accept it and cease fighting them. [3] But if they refuse, seek the aid of Allah and fight them." Thus our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue--one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice--and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: either willing submission; or payment of the jizya, through physical though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; or the sword--for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die. [pp. 41-42]

When the Saudi intellectuals wrote: "Man, from his very make-up, is a sacred creation. Thus it is impermissible to transgress against him, no matter what his color, race, or religion." Bin Ladin, after mocking their language for its "UN" tone, wrote extensively:

Now, then, how can you speak about Allah without knowledge? Who told you that transgression against man is impermissible--if he is an infidel? What about Offensive Jihad? Allah Exalted, the Most High, said: "Fight them! Allah will torment them with your hands".... [Koran 9:14] Indeed, these expressions of yours are built upon the principle of equality, as found in the charters of the United Nations, which do not distinguish [among] people, neither by way of religion nor race nor sex. Islam improves; it is not improved.... [p. 38] Furthermore, how can they [intellectuals] claim that we have no right to force a people to change its particular values, when they transgress the bounds of nature? Such are lies. In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the sharia from being publicly voiced among the people, as was the case at the dawn of Islam....[p. 50] Thus they make claims and speak about Allah without understanding. They say that our sharia does not impose our particular beliefs upon others; this is a false assertion. For it is, in fact, part of our religion to impose our particular beliefs upon others. Whoever doubts this, let him turn to the deeds of the Companions when they raided the lands of the Christians and Omar imposed upon them the conditions of dhimmi[tude]. These conditions involve clothing attire, specific situations, and class distinctions known to ulamaas the pact of Omar,[13] and they are notoriously famous. Let the signatories review them so they know that we are to force people by the power of the sword to [our] particular understandings, customs, and conditions, all in order to induce debasement and humility, just like Allah commanded when he said: "[...]until they pay the jizya by hand, in complete submission and humility." [Koran 9:29] Now, if you are incapable of jihad and placing people into the religion, like the Companions did, your impotence does not mean that it is not a legitimate aspect of the religion. [p. 51]

As for direct support for terrorism, bin Ladin again refers to the Koran:

"Muster against them [infidels] what fighting-men and steeds of war you can, in order to strike terror in the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them whom you do not know, but Allah knows well." [Koran 8:60] Thus whoever refuses the principle of terror[ism] against the enemy also refuses the commandment of Allah the Exalted, the Most High, and His sharia. The West prepares to defend itself in face of this extremist verse. [p. 54]

The Saudi intellectuals wrote: "Terrorism, according to the universally agreed meaning being used today, is but one of many manifestations of unjust aggression against life and property." Bin Ladin, outraged, responds:

Behold! Today they are agreed to the meaning and definition of "terrorism" as acknowledged and agreed to by the Americans, that is, "unjust aggression against life and property." And such acknowledgment by necessity must apply to and include the Prophet who assaulted the lives, properties, and women of the infidels, who were living in secure and settled cities. As did his Companions after him. Such aggression, as understood by the West, is not justified; nor does such hostility agree with the Western notion of "freedom of religion." Thus our Prophet and his Companions and the righteous forefathers have all now become "terrorists."[14] [p. 58]

Taken together, the above three sections all demonstrate that for al-Qa'ida, hostility and violence towards the West is not merely "reciprocal treatment"--that is, "an eye for an eye"--but rather religious obligation that far transcends any and all notions of "universal justice" and claims to grievances. However, there are two more notable contradictions between what they say to the West and what they affirm to Muslims. Consider the following disparities:

TRUCE VS. TAQIYYA

On two separate occasions, al-Qa'ida, in the person of bin Ladin, has offered the West a truce. In April of 2002, bin Ladin offered European nations an apparently long-lasting truce: "I therefore offer them this peace treaty [mudabarat sulh], which essentially is a commitment to cease operations against every country that pledges not to attack Muslims or interfere in their business--including the American conspiracy against the greater Islamic world.... Stop shedding our blood and thereby save your own." [p. 235]

In late January 2006, bin Ladin, who had not been heard from for over a year, resurfaced by way of an audio-tape and offered the Americans a truce: "So we have no qualms in offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. For we are the umma that Allah has forbidden from double-crossing and lying." [p. 224]

However, while Islam does permit the making of truces with infidels, it only allows this under certain conditions--namely, when Muslims are in a weakened position and unable to wage an Offensive Jihad effectively.[15] In "Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents," Ayman Zawahiri declares:

Whenever they are able... believers are to enjoin good and forbid evil [i.e. enforce Shari'a law]--which, by nature, is [waging Offensive] Jihad in the path of Allah and spreading the call to [conversion to the religion of] the Most High: "Those whom we have given mastery over the earth uphold prayers, render alms, enjoin good and forbid evil; Allah controls the destiny of all things" [Koran 22:41].... Therefore if believers are weak, they are to wage jihad with their hearts and tongues; if they are able, they are to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, fight the infidels, and spread the call of Tawhid. [pp. 150-51]

In this same treatise, Zawahiri stresses the need for deception in warfare. Based on Muhammad's assertion--"War [is] deceit"--Zawahiri goes on to say:

Deception in warfare requires that the mujahid bide his time and wait for an opportunity against his enemy, while avoiding confrontation at all possible costs. For triumph, in almost every case, is [achieved] through deception: triumph achieved through confrontation possesses many dangers.... And in the Hadith, practicing deceit in war is well demonstrated. Indeed, its need is more stressed than [the need for] courage. [p. 142]

More importantly, however, in Ayman al-Zawahiri's treatise "Loyalty and Enmity," Muslims are flat-out told that lying and dissembling in front of infidels is permitted. This is the doctrine of taqiyya (religiously sanctioned lies for purposes of self-preservation),[16] which has plenty of Koranic but especially Hadith support. The Koran states: "Let Believers not take for friends and allies infidels rather than Believers: and who so does this shall have no relationship left with Allah--unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions." (Koran 3:28) Two of the more famous Hadiths evoked by al-Qa'ida say, "Truly, we grin to the faces of some peoples, while our hearts curse them"; and "Protection is not secured by deeds but with the tongue." (p. 73)

Finally, there are also several Hadiths of Muhammad that justify oath-breaking. For instance, "Allah's Messenger [Muhammad] said, ‘He who takes an oath but eventually finds a better way should do that which is better and break his oath.'" (Sahih Muslim 15: 4057)

Considering that al-Qa'ida subscribes to the view that Islam must war with the non-Muslim world till the former subsumes the latter, and that they also subscribe to these doctrines of deceit, what is to be made of al-Qa'ida's truce-offers?

WHY THE WEST IS HOSTILE TO ISLAM

As aforementioned, in their messages to the West, al-Qa'ida maintains that the former is unjust towards Islam for a plethora of reasons--Israeli interests, oil, land, and Crusader hatred being prominent among them. A quick perusal of The Al Qaeda Reader's "Propaganda" section will clearly confirm this. Even in most of their messages to Muslims, al-Qa'ida is quick to stress these reasons in order to incite Muslims, gain their sympathy, and grow in recruits. However, in "Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West," bin Ladin changes his tune. He repeatedly states that the West is ultimately hostile to Islam because it knows that Islam is hostile to it--that "the West avenges itself against Islam for giving infidels but three options: Islam, jizya, or the sword." (p. 42)

The West is hostile to us on account of Loyalty and Enmity, and [Offensive] Jihad.... What the West desires is that we abandon [the doctrine of] Loyalty and Enmity, and abandon [Offensive] Jihad. This is the very essence of their request and desire of us. Do the intellectuals, then, think it's actually possible for Muslims to abandon these two commandments simply to coexist with the West? [p. 30] In fact, the West did not treat Islam in this atrocious manner until after it [first] understood the truth about Islam--comprehended its essence and soul. And the West is knowledgeable of all religions, but it would never confront any of them, nor persecute their people. But it is bent on pulverizing the Muslims, since first learning of their enterprise [Offensive Jihad and the "three choices"]. [p. 55]

RECIPROCITY OR RELIGION?

All of the above clearly demonstrates that, for al-Qa'ida, the war with the West is not finite but eternal. The current battles may ostensibly revolve around U.S. presence in Islamic lands, or support for Israel, or support for secular though dictatorial regimes, or even oil. Even so, the ultimate war does not end with a cessation of these real or perceived injustices, but rather with the West's--indeed, the rest of the non-Islamic world's--submission to Islam. As the words of Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri--all grounded in the traditional sources of Islam--make clear, the war with the West revolves around something more transcendent than temporal grievances. It revolves around "eternal truths."

How, then, should al-Qa'ida's messages to the West--wholly crafted to vindicate al-Qa'ida, weaken Western resolve, and incite the umma--be taken? Should one conclude that all those grievances that al-Qa'ida cite are wholly unfounded? Not necessarily. In fact, it is precisely because the vast majority of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims, not to mention a considerable number of non-Muslims, believe these grievances to be true that al-Qa'ida enjoys the apparent widespread--sympathetic if not actual--support that they receive.[17]

All that said, Westerners should also be cognizant of what al-Qa'ida and like-minded Islamists ultimately want as the former consider the long list of alleged wrongs the Islamic world has suffered at the hands of the West. In other words, if al-Qa'ida's arguably "just" demands are met--if the United States evacuates Iraq and Afghanistan, if the West keeps its nose out of the Islamic world's affairs, even if Israel were to disappear--would all that be enough to satisfy al-Qa'ida and their supporters? Certainly, it would be a start. Yet based on their words and convictions that all injunctions of the Koran must be fulfilled, it is clear that, when the time is ripe, the jihad would merely shift from being Defensive to being Offensive--the latter being the true and historic manifestation of jihad.[18]

Nor should Westerners believe that al-Qa'ida is the root of the problem. The "problem" between the West--in fact, the world--and Islam is the "radical" version of the latter articulated by al-Qa'ida but also other Islamists--past, present, and no doubt future. This is even historically demonstrable: When Hasan al-Bana and Sayyid Qutb (respectively, founder and ideologue of Egypt's famous Muslim Brotherhood) were assassinated, that organization did not fall apart but continued thriving underground for decades until to international dismay it won a fair number of seats in Egypt's recent elections; the Iranian Islamic Revolution did not die with its spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, but is as strong now as it was then--with the exception that its nuclear aspirations are nearly realized; after the spiritual leader of Hamas, Ahmad Yassin was assassinated, far from losing influence, Hamas won the majority of house seats in Palestine's recent elections. Ayman al-Zawahiri summarizes this phenomenon well:

Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Ladin--may Allah protect them from all evil--are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth and Falsehood transcends time. [p. 182]

The bottom line is, perceived Western injustices--as propagated by bin Ladin's mantras--have nothing to do with the ultimate source of hostilities between Islam and the West (Infidelity). The doctrine of Offensive Jihad, spreading the laws of Allah to every corner of the world by the sword and enforcing the practice of dhimmitude (that is, discriminating and humiliating those who, having been conquered and living under Islamic suzerainty, still do not embrace Islam officially), was and remains a basic tenant of Islam--well before it ever encountered the West:

Fight those amongst the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden [i.e. enforce Shari'a law], and who do not embrace the religion of truth [Islam], until they pay the Jizya with willing submissiveness and feel themselves utterly subdued. [Koran 9:29]

The word "until" (hata) highlights the perpetual nature of this command. Enmity for non-Muslims, irrespective of whether or not they harm the Muslim is also a basic tenant of the faith, established before Islam and the West met:

"O you who have believed! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are but friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them [i.e., he apostasies from Islam]." [Koran 5:51]

You have a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, for they said to their people, "We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you: enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone." [Koran 60:4]

It is important to keep in mind that these verses have nothing to do with reciprocity; instead they express the standard relationship between Muslims and infidels--even when the latter do not interfere in Muslims' affairs, militarily, economically, politically, or culturally, and completely mind their own business. Moreover, such hostility is perceived as altruistic, as bin Ladin concludes: "As for oppression, the only oppression is to forsake them in their unbelief, and not launch an [Offensive] Jihad against them till they submit to the faith--as the Prophet did with them." (p. 46)

At this point many will proclaim that al-Qa'ida is misusing, misinterpreting, or taking these otherwise straightforward verses out of context. That is hardly the point here: Even if this were true, that does not change the fact that many men before al-Qa'ida, going back to the first jihads of the seventh century, have also "misused" them, or that many today who have nothing to do with al-Qa'ida, "misinterpret them," or ultimately that many after al-Qa'ida will also be taking them "out of context." In other words, even if those verses really do not mean what they seem to be saying, they certainly led themselves to the sort of hostile interpretation that al-Qa'ida and other Islamists, past, present and future, give to them. This is all the more troubling since it took only 19 men who follow such "interpretations" to cause September 11.

Irrespective of real or imagined Western injustices, the real question of permanent peace revolves around the above Islamic doctrines. In this sense, then, real peace ultimately depends on Islam and how it defines itself: Either Islam will dominate the whole world fulfilling its destiny, or else Muslims themselves will reject the doctrines of jihad, dhimmitude, and general enmity for non-Muslims. The problem, however, is that even if all these divisive doctrines are formally repudiated--will that be merely a show of taqiyya, a stratagem of war?

Based purely on al-Qa'ida's, that is, radical Islam's, worldview, it is readily apparent that the West is given no choice but to fight--to gain the upper-hand and strive to keep it, even at the risk of being oppressive. What good are al-Qa'idist appeals to justice in face of its belief that every person has but three choices (convert to Islam, live the life of a dhimmi, or die)? What good is it telling the West that they have "choices" in face of an immutable Shari'a? What good is a truce in face of doctrines of deception?

This is unfortunate for Muslims, and in this sense al-Qa'ida's "version" of Islam brings them more harm then good. If Islam is perceived as being intrinsically hostile to the infidel world at large--as al-Qa'ida and many other Muslim insist--all of the possibly legitimate grievances that many Muslims believe they are suffering become moot, since the West is doing what it must to stay dominant against a potentially hostile force. Thus even if Muslims are being oppressed, as long as these grievances are being articulated through an Islamic paradigm that perceives justice solely through Shari'a and not through anything universal or innate to the human condition, the West--in the interest of self-preservation as well as the preservation of freedoms--has no choice but to reject all accusations, offers, and threats from Islamists, and fight.

Indeed, according to this worldview, upheld by al-Qa'ida, where the Abode of Peace (Islam) and the Abode of War (the rest) are forever in a struggle of life and death, the West can hardly be blamed for behaving oppressively, if in fact it does, towards the Islamic world. In this context, such oppression can be understood as a sort of "preemptive" reciprocal treatment, as the argument can be made that if the West does not keep Islam suppressed, Islam will suppress it. A survival of the fittest mentality--"get them before they get us"--is the only mentality that can withstand radical Islam, as so well represented by al-Qa'ida.

In fact, bin Ladin's many statements of reciprocity work both ways: "Shall a man be blamed for protecting his own?" "The road to safety begins by eliminating the aggression." "Reciprocal treatment is part of justice." "He who initiates aggression is the unjust one." "We believe that this right to defend oneself is the right of all human beings."[19] "We want to defend our people and our land. That is why I say that if we don't get security, the Americans, too would not get security.

This is a simple formula that even an American child can understand. This is the formula of live and let live."[20] Ironically, every single one of these statements actually justifies Western aggression against radical Islam.

Thus, the West is damned if it does, damned if it doesn't. If the West voluntarily concedes to the demands and grievances of al-Qa'ida, it will be perceived as a weakness or an admission of defeat, and will eventually only encourage an Offensive Jihad, when the time is right. If the West actually loses the current war, that too will provoke an offensive response, one seen as the natural next stage in the struggle toward the total victory of Islam. This is an important reminder to those many who, while condemning al-Qa'ida's methods, agree or sympathize with their grievances. The current battle at hand may ostensibly revolve around those grievances; but the forthcoming war will ultimately be about militarily establishing Islamic supremacy over the entire globe.

Some will discount this possibility as implausible since it seems so distant; but the wild vicissitudes of history are constantly proving otherwise.

*Raymond Ibrahim writes regularly about radical Islamism and is the author of The Al Qaeda Reader (Broadway, 2007), translations of religious texts and propaganda.
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Lightbulb The OIC calls on the media to suppress the truth

The OIC calls on the media to suppress the truth


Roy W. Brown, former president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, offers in this Jihad Watch exclusive an analysis of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's attempts to destroy the freedom of speech:
On 2 December 2008, the General Secretariat of the OIC released a statement that is utterly breathtaking in its duplicity. I feel it must be refuted. The statement is entitled “Islam, the Religion of peace, tolerance and compassion”. It begins:

“With the multiplicity of terrorist attacks perpetrated recently by deviant and fanatic individuals, the General Secretariat of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has noticed a tendency of a section of the media, to interpose the word “Islam” in reporting these incidences.”

“Noted a tendency”? Whyever could this possibly be? Could it perhaps be because the terrorists shout “Allahu Akbar!” when launching their attacks? Or leave video testimonies calling for all Muslims to join them in a Holy War against the infidel while calling for the establishment of a global caliphate? Might this perhaps have misled some commentators into believing that these “deviant and fanatic individuals” have something to do with Islam? Or, perhaps they have been misled by the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood, “Death in the path of Allah is the greatest glory,” into thinking that Allah has something to do with Islam.

The OIC statement continues:

“Islam, the religion of peace, tolerance and compassion, that sanctifies the human soul, and whose universal message is one of mutual peaceful coexistence among all the peoples of the world, regardless of their ethnicities, race, religions, and which calls for kind reasoning and dialogue with all their fellow human beings, abhors and despises all such criminal acts and had enacted the utmost severe punishment for their perpetrators.”

But peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims only ever applies as long as they show their submission to Islam by paying the jizya, protection money, and accept their state of dhimmitude, and maybe not even then. Evidence the million Jews who have been forced from their homes in Arab lands and the 400,000 Christians who have been driven from Iraq by Islamists (who of course have nothing to do with Islam) since the American-led invasion.
The statement goes on:

“It is frustrating to see some circles, still, maliciously trying to establish conceptual link between such evil and wicked practices and Islam, the religion that condemns, scorns and outlaws them.”

Er, but excuse me: this “conceptual link” is being made by the terrorists themselves. Is it no longer permissible to report this fact? Is the reporting of this fact to be taboo? Is denying reality part of the price we must pay for our submission to Islam? And where did the terrorists learn to make this “conceptual link”? Could it conceivably have been in the mosques and madrassas which teach Islam to these impressionable young people?

It continues:

“It is on the premise of this irrefutable fact (er, sorry, just refuted it) that we, in the OIC, call upon all well-intentioned peoples of the world, not to give to these criminals any right to present Islam, a right that Islam itself denies them.”

Sorry, I think I must have misread that. Millions of young Muslims are being taught that violent jihad is central to Islam. They are being taught it in schools funded by Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam. They are being taught hatred of Jews, of infidels and of the West in Islamic schools. Yet the OIC has the bare-faced gall to lie about this unquestionable fact. Masters of taqqiya indeed.

“Those who refer to the perpetrators, as acting on behalf of Islam, help them by offering them justification, anchor and premise that they don’t have or deserve.”

May we suggest the OIC explain this to the Saudis, to the Wahabis, to the Salafists, to the Deobanda and to the Muslim Brotherhood who are doing just that in videos and speeches, on radio and TV, and in madrassas and mosques around the world?

“On the other hand, the generalization of the guilt of a few aberrant misguided individuals, to engulf the adherents of a religion of 1.5 billion followers is an outrageous judgment … “

Well, it would certainly be wrong to describe all Muslims as supporters of terrorism when there clearly are many who oppose terrorism and Islamic extremism in general. But in some states these liberals are actually in the minority. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Group in several countries a majority of young Muslims support al Quaida and the concept of violent jihad. And by the way, collective punishment implies that someone is being punished. At last count it was the victims of Islamic terror who were being collectively punished, not Muslims.

And finally the coup de grace, the icing on the cucumber:
“Moreover, any attempt to implicate all Muslims in such a wicked and wanton acts goes contrary to the well established principles of international law.”

This is the purest nonsense. No one, no government nor any individual, as far as I am aware, has ever attempted to implicate “all Muslims” in these acts in any legal process in any court in the world.

“It is therefore hoped that media will avoid resorting to any reference to Islam when narrating such events in order not to disseminate erroneous information that might jeopardize the basic human rights of Muslims, the world over.”

The media are being asked not to report the facts about terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. Unpleasant though this may seem, and however difficult it may be for the OIC to swallow, the press have a responsibility to report the facts as they see them, and this must including the words and deeds of the terrorists. Respect for the truth, for facts, must come first. To deny the facts and to silence freedom of expression is the first step along the road to tyranny.
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Default Bomb Hidden in Papaya intended for Catholic Congretation

Bomb Hidden in Papaya intended for Catholic Congretation



MANILA, Philippines: Police defused a powerful bomb hidden inside a papaya fruit that attackers may have intended to detonate Sunday at a Roman Catholic cathedral in a violence-wracked southern Philippine city.

About 100 policemen will be deployed this week to bolster the security of Iligan city amid a security scare that has dampened the usually vibrant Christmas holiday season in the industrial hub of more than 300,000 people, Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz said.

"This is a crisis situation," Cruz told The Associated Press. "We should be at the height of the Christmas rush now but it feels gloomy."

A bomb fashioned from an 81 mm mortar round and concealed in a papaya fruit was found by scavengers in a vacant lot near a Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Iligan. Police and army ordnance teams safely defused the bomb, Cruz said.

The would-be bombers may have planned to bring the bomb to the cathedral, which was packed with worshippers, but abandoned it at the lot about two blocks away due to heavy police presence in the church area, police Superintendent Celso Regencia said.

Police also checked an unattended bag, which scared off passers-by in an Iligan public plaza, but found no explosives, Regencia said.

Two nail-laden bombs exploded almost simultaneously Thursday in the baggage counters of two Iligan department stores packed with Christmas shoppers, killing two people and wounding 54 others.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo flew to Iligan, about 485 miles (780 kilometers) southeast of Manila, to console the victims Friday and order authorities to hunt down and punish the bombers.

Hours after Arroyo left Iligan, however, a third bomb was found and defused by a fruit stand close to the two stores hit in Thursday's blasts, police said.

Muslim guerrillas, who resent Iligan officials' opposition to a plan to annex a part of the city to an expanded Muslim autonomous region, are among the suspects in the bombings, Cruz said.

A closed-circuit television camera at one of the shops targeted Thursday showed two men wearing traditional Muslim garments handing over what appeared to be a bag. Minutes later, an explosion ripped the baggage counter apart, police said.

The bomb attacks have prompted a security alert in metropolitan Manila, where police organized a mock bombing exercise at a crowded commuter train terminal Saturday.

The British Embassy again advised its nationals against traveling to the southern Mindanao region due to terrorism and bomb attacks, citing Thursday's bombings in Iligan.
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Exclamation Muslim refuses to give child to christian mother

Egypt: Muslim refuses to give child to christian mother
Court grants custody of 3-year-old to woman, but police refuse to enforce order.


ISTANBUL, December 19 (Compass Direct News) – Egyptian authorities have refused to hand over a 3-year-old girl to her Christian mother even after a court granted her custody in a legal battle with her Muslim ex-husband. Mervat Reszqallah of Tanta, 60 miles north of Cairo, was granted custody of her toddler daughter, Barthenia, by Judge Emaad Eldean Abedelhamed of the Court of Tanta on Aug. 7. Police, however, have refused to implement the court’s decision to take the child from her father. Fady Farhaat Labbib converted to Islam in May of 2006 in order to divorce Reszqallah and marry another woman. He applied for custody of Barthenia in order to raise her as a Muslim. This has kept the police from doing their duty, said human rights lawyer Naguib Gobrail. “The police insisted that the daughter must follow the father, because they are afraid she will eat pork, drink wine, go to the church and be educated in the Sunday school,” he said.
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:09 PM
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Exclamation Pak. Christians Warned to Convert to Islam or Else

Pak. Christians Warned to Convert to Islam or Else
Pakistan: Christians find Bible burned, note warning they'll "burn in the fire of hell" and must convert to Islam if they want to "live in peace"

No effigy burnings, no raging "Christianist" mobs. Compare the reactions we have seen when someone even alleges that a non-believer damaged or showed disrespect toward the Qur'an.

"Islamic threats in church: bible burned, appeal to conversion," by Qaiser Felix for Asia News, December 19:
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - Desecration at the church of St. Paul in the village ‘Chak 77-RB’, ‘Lohekay’, about 30 kilometers from Faisalabad: on December 17, suspects burned a bible and other sacred texts, leaving a letter threatening Christians that they will "burn in the fire of hell" if they do not convert to Islam.
Pervez Masih tells AsiaNews that on that day, he and others were whitewashing and decorating the little church for Christmas. They stopped at noon for lunch, leaving the church open. When they returned, they found the bible and other sacred texts reduced to ashes, and a handwritten letter telling them to convert to Islam if they wanted to "live in peace" and avoid hell. In Pakistan, there is significant controversy over the law on blasphemy, condemning even to death those who offend the sacred book of Islam, the Qur'an. But nothing is done against blasphemous acts toward the books of other religions.
Fr. Yagoob Yousaf arrived in the village that same evening, having been told about the sacrilege. He celebrated Mass in the church, and in the homily, he condemned the sacrilege and the threats, and told the faithful to remain calm and peaceful and not to be afraid, because the police have promised the highest vigilance. He said that Christ preached love and peace, and the government would see to guaranteeing security for the Christians for the Holy Nativity. In recent years, at Christmas, there have been attacks against Catholic and Protestant churches. Often the Christmas celebrations have taken place under police protection.
He observes that "this is a high holy season for all Christians and they are preparing themselves for Christmas but such type of incidents are creating fear and is a move to disturb Christians in the season of Advent."
Most of the people in the village are Muslim, and there are between 50 and 70 Christian families. The church is used by Catholics and Protestants, without conflict. When they became aware of the sacrilege, many Muslims went to the church together with the Christians. Now the police are investigating the "suspects" for the crime of blasphemy.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:31 AM
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Default Yemeni Jew-Killer: Jews must "either convert to Islam or leave Yemen, or I would kill

Yemeni Jew-Killer: Jews must "either convert to Islam or leave Yemen, or I would kill them"


Will he be punished -- especially considering Islam's prophet said, “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims” (Sahih Muslim, book 19, no. 4366)? More on this story.

"Killer of Jew says Yemeni minority should convert to Islam"

from AFP, December 22:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...VmmAIf3Os1WlFA
AMRAN, Yemen (AFP) — A Yemeni confessed on Monday to killing a Jew, saying in court that he had warned that the minority should convert to Islam or leave the country, but his lawyers said he was mentally disturbed.


"I killed the Jew," Abdul Aziz Yahya al-Abdi, 39, screamed from the dock, referring to Masha Yaeish al-Nahari, whom he shot dead over a week ago in the town of Raydah, in the northern province of Amran.

"I have told them in a letter that they should either convert to Islam or leave Yemen, or I would kill them," he said, speaking of the minority of a few hundred Jews who continue to live in the Arabian peninsula country.

Only the immediate relatives of the victim were in court which was filled with members of Abdi's tribe, along with five lawyers who volunteered to defend him
.

The hearing was the second, following the opening of the trial on Saturday.

"This man has wronged us," said the victim's father, addressing the judges, pointing at Abdi who appeared in a blue prison uniform.

Abdi said his act was "in accordance with a masters' dissertation I wrote on their electronic war and jihad (holy war) in the name of God."
Defence lawyers retorted that Abdi was "mentally disturbed" and had quit his previous posting as an air force pilot due to his mental illness. They added that he had killed his wife two years ago.
So, he's 1) insane, and 2) a murderer. Question: Why was he not already incarcerated? Observation: If murdering his wife was not enough to get him put away, surely killing a Jew will only, what, make him a hero?
"He does not understand what he has done," the defence said, requesting a referral for psychiatric tests.


"Such statements help the Jews against me... I want an American lawyer," Abdi screamed in response, calling upon his tribesmen to sack his legal team...
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:57 PM
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Default EU Presses Arab World to Allow Churches

EU Presses Arab World to Allow Churches

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081223...6YU2jF_3WaOrgF

RIYADH (AFP) – EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering called on Arab governments on Tuesday to allow Christian churches to be built in their countries in the same way that mosques can be built in Europe.
In Saudi Arabia, at the end of a tour of Gulf countries to boost cooperation between the two regions, Poettering said Arab governments need to be more tolerant of other religions.

"It is vital that we get a better understanding of the Islamic culture," he said.

"But it's a two-way road. We ask for tolerance for Christians ... in the Arab world. It's mutual."

Poettering said at the end of a tour of Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to discuss EU-Gulf relations that he had pressed the point of religious freedom in all his meetings.

He pointed out that while he was able to attend a Roman Catholic mass during his stop in Muscat, he could not do the same in Saudi Arabia. As home to Islam's holiest sites Mecca and Medina, the latter maintains that it cannot allow the practice of other religions.

"There are hundreds of thousands of Catholics here. We have Christmas tomorrow and they cannot assemble in a church," Poettering said after meetings with top Saudi officials, including the foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and officials from the Organisation of the the Islamic Conference.

Although nearly all Saudis are Muslim, the country is host to millions of foreign workers, including more than one million Filipinos, most of whom are Christian.

He said the Saudis told him a mosque would not be permitted in the Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic church.

But he argued that mosques are allowed across most of Europe, and that governments on both sides have to respect rights of religious worship.

"In Mecca and Medina I can understand there are no churches," he said. "But not for the whole country."
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:41 PM
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Lightbulb Iran and Hamas do Christmas

Iran and Hamas do Christmas



Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this Christmas week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seemed to have noticed.


On Tuesday Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Sharia criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, the code legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time as it renewed its jihad. Here too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday Hamas lobbed a mortar at Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.

While Hamas joyously renewed its jihad against Jews and Christians, its overlords in Iran also basked in jihadist triumphalism. The source of Iran's sense of ascendancy this week was Britain's state-owned Channel 4 network's decision to request that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad give a special Christmas Day address to the British people. Ahmadinejad's speech was supposed to be a response to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional Christmas Day address to her subjects. That is, Channel 4 presented his message as a reasonable counterpoint to the Christmas greetings of the head of the Church of England.

Channel 4 justified its move by proclaiming that it was providing a public service. As a Channel 4 spokesman told the Jerusalem Post, "We're offering [Ahmadinejad] the chance to speak for himself, which people in the West don't often get the chance to see."


While that sounds reasonable, the fact is that Westerners see Ahmadinejad speaking for himself all the time. They saw him at the UN two years in a row as he called for the countries of the world to submit to Islam; claimed that Iran's nuclear weapons program is divinely inspired; and castigated Jews as subhuman menaces to humanity.

They saw him gather leading anti-Semites from all over the world at his Holocaust denial conference.

They heard him speak in his own words when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

And of course, over the years Ahmadinejad has often communicated directly to the British people. For instance, in 2007 he received unlimited airtime on British television as he paraded kidnapped British sailors and marines in front of television cameras; forced them to make videotaped "confessions" of their "crime" of entering Iranian territorial waters; and compelled them to grovel at his knee and thank him for "forgiving" them.

The British people listened to Ahmadinejad as he condemned Britain as a warmongering nation after its leaders had surrendered Basra to Iranian proxies. They heard him -- speaking in his own voice -- when he announced that in a gesture of Islamic mercy, he was freeing their humiliated sailors and marines in honor of Muhammad's birthday and Easter and then called on all Britons to convert to Islam.

Yet as far as Channel 4 is concerned, Ahmadinejad is still an unknown quantity for most Britons. So they asked him to address the British on Christmas. And not surprisingly, in his address, he attacked their way of life and co-opted their Jewish savior Jesus, saying, "If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers."

He then reiterated his call for non-Muslims to convert to Islam saying, "The solution to today's problems can be found in a return to the call of the divine prophets."

The fact of the matter is that Channel 4 is right. There is a great deal of ignorance in the West about what the likes of Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas stand for. But this isn't their fault. They tell us every day that they seek the destruction of the Jews and the domination of the West in the name of Islam. And every day they take actions that they believe advance their goals.

The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.

As far as the West's leaders are concerned, Iran and its allies are unimportant. They are not actors, but objects. As far as the West's leading foreign policy "experts" and decision makers are concerned, the only true actors on the global stage are Western powers. They alone have the power to shape reality and the world. Oddly enough, this dominant political philosophy, which is based on denying the existence of non-Western actors on the world stage, is referred to as political "realism."

The "realist" view was given clear expression this week by one of the "realist" clique's most prominent members. In an op-ed published Tuesday in Canada's *Globe and Mail* entitled, "We must talk Iran out of the bomb," Richard Haas, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations argued that given the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the dangers of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations, the incoming Obama administration must hold direct negotiations with the mullahs in order to convince them to end their nuclear weapons program.

In making this argument, Haas ignores the fact that this has been the Bush administration's policy for the past five years. He also ignores the fact that President George W. Bush adopted this policy at the urging of Haas's "realist" colleagues and at the urging of Haas himself. Moreover, Haas bizarrely contends that in negotiating with the mullahs, the Obama administration should offer Iran the same package of economic and political payoffs that the Bush administration and the EU have been offering, and Teheran has been rejecting since 2003.

Even more disturbingly, Haas ignores the fact that Teheran made its greatest leaps forward in its uranium enrichment capabilities while it was engaged in these talks with the West.

So in making his recommendation to the Obama administration -- which has already announced its intention to negotiate with the mullahs -- Haas has chosen to ignore Iran's statements, its actions, and known facts about the West's inability to steer it from its course of war by showering it with pay-offs.

Haas and his colleagues in the US, Europe and on the Israeli Left are similarly unwilling to pay attention to Hamas. In an article in the current edition of *Foreign Affairs*, Haas and his colleague Martin Indyk from the Brookings Institute call on the Obama administration to either ignore Hamas, or if it abides by a ceasefire with Israel, they suggest that the Obama administration should support a joint Hamas-Fatah government and "authorize low-level contact between US officials and Hamas." The fact that Hamas itself is wholly dedicated to Israel's destruction and Islamic global domination is irrelevant.

Similarly, Haas and Indyk assume that Syria can be appeased into abandoning its support for Hizbullah and Hamas, and its strategic alliance with Iran. Syrian President Bashar Assad's views of how his interests are best served are unimportant. Both Assad's statements of eternal friendship with Iran and his active involvement in Iran's war effort against the US and its allies in Israel, Iraq and Lebanon are meaningless. The "realists" know what he really wants.

Muslims aren't the only ones whose views and actions are dismissed as irrelevant by these foreign policy wise men. The "realists" ignore just about every non-Western actor. Take Iran's principal Asian ally North Korea for example.

This week North Korea's official news agency threatened to destroy South Korea in a "sea of fire," and "reduce everything treacherous and anti-reunification to debris and build an independent, reunified country on it," if any country dares to attack its nuclear installations.

North Korea made its threat two weeks after Kim Jung Il's regime disengaged from its fraudulent disarmament talks with the Bush administration. Those talks -- the brainchild of foreign policy "realists" Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill -- were based on the "realist" belief that the US can appease North Korea into giving up its nuclear arsenal. (That would be the same nuclear arsenal that the North Koreans built while engaged in fraudulent disarmament talks with the Clinton administration.)

After Pyongyang agreed in February 2007 to eventually come clean on its plutonium installations (but not its uranium enrichment programs), and to account for its nuclear arsenal, (but not for its proliferation activities), Rice convinced President George W. Bush to remove North Korea from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terror and to end its subjection to the US's Trading with the Enemy Act this past October. And then, after securing those massive US concessions, on December 11 Pyongyang renounced its previous commitments, walked away from the table and now threatens to destroy South Korea if anyone takes any action against it.

North Korea's behavior is of no interest to the "realists" however. As far as they are concerned, the US has no option other than to continue the failed appeasement policy that has enabled North Korea to develop and proliferate nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. As the Council on Foreign Relations Gary Samore said, "I think we're sort of condemned to that process because we don't really have any alternative."

Samore and his colleagues believe there are no other options because all other options involve placing responsibility for contending with North Korea on non-Western powers like China, South Korea and Japan. More radically, it involves holding North Korea itself accountable for its actions and making it pay a price for its poor behavior.

As the "realists" claim that the US has no option other than their failed appeasement policies, back in the real world, this week military officials from the US's Pacific Command warned that North Korea may supply Iran with intercontinental ballistic missiles. These warnings are credible given that North Korea has been the primary supplier of ballistic missiles and missile technology to Iran and Syria and has played a major role in both countries' nuclear weapons programs.

Defending Channel 4's invitation to Ahmadinejad, Dorothy Byrne, the network's head of news and current affairs, said, "As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential. As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view."

When you think about it, broadcasting Ahmadinejad really would have been a public service if Byrne or any of the delusional "realists" calling the shots were remotely interested in listening to what he has to say. But they aren't. So far from a public service for Britain, it was a service for those who, unbeknownst to most Britons, are dedicated to destroying their country.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:51 PM
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Arrow Wave of jihadist attacks hits southern Philippines in time for Christmas

Wave of jihadist attacks hits southern Philippines in time for Christmas
"Officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front denied that its forces had tried to attack civilians. Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the front, instead blamed the military for stepping up its offensives in the past several days."
Of course. Fighting back against jihadist aggression is always a "provocation." "Fighting flares in southern Philippines," by Charles H. Conde for the International Herald Tribune, December 26:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/26/asia/phils.php
MANILA: A series of rebel attacks this past week in the southern Philippines that left least nine civilians dead underscores the need for the government and Muslim separatists to resume peace negotiations, analysts said Friday.
While civilian casualties are not uncommon in the troubled region of Mindanao, some analysts view recent actions as the insurgents' way of pressuring the government to restart the peace process that has been stalled since August, when the government nullified a landmark agreement that would have expanded a Muslim autonomous region.
On Tuesday, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main group that has been fighting for Muslim self-rule in the predominantly Roman Catholic region since the 1970s, attacked villages in Sultan Kudarat township, killing nine civilians and wounding more, the military said.
The next day, Christmas Eve, the rebels reportedly staged another attack, this time in the town of Alamada.
"The attacks came while the people were setting off firecrackers. The attackers timed their attacks during the revelry," said Ernesto Concepcion, mayor of Alamada, according to ABS-CBN television.
The military said the rebels attacked other areas on Christmas Day, firing rocket-propelled grenades at power lines in Sultan Kudarat and looting.
"They ransacked the houses of civilians and extorted money from them. They even stole the guns of retired soldiers living in the area," Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., an army spokesman, said Friday.
Officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front denied that its forces had tried to attack civilians. Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the front, instead blamed the military for stepping up its offensives in the past several days.

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