How to Deal with Islam
Recipes for not demolishing what took us 2,500 years to build
By: Harry Foundalis
In the 20th century, an ideology attempted to spread itself and conquer the world, resulting in World War II. It was the ideology of Nazism, which was based on the racist idea that there is a superior race in the world, and that race must dominate all other races.
In the 21st century, an ideology is attempting to spread itself and dominate the world, resulting — so far — in bloodshed and carnage. It is the ideology of Islamism, based on the idea that there is a superior religion, and that religion must dominate all other religions and world views.
This article is attempting to suggest to Westerners, and others whose lifestyles are threatened by the advancement of Islam (Chinese, Indians, and in general all the non-Muslims), how to successfully confront and nullify the — overt or covert — purpose of Muslims to fulfill the Quranic mandate: “[...] religion should be only for Allah.” (Qur’an 2:193).
There is an important difference between the two analogous situations presented above. In the case of 20th-century Nazism there was a real army that had to be confronted, and real battles took place in Europe, North Africa, the Pacific, and elsewhere. But in the case of 21st-century Islamism there is no army to be confronted. Jihadists who detonate themselves cannot be attacked with bombs and hi-tech weapons. Arms are also useless in the battle against the spreading of an intolerant ideology that utilizes demographics to slowly change the world. Clearly, a weapon of different nature is needed to fight against such an ideology. And this weapon cannot be other than information, given to both non-Muslims and Muslims. The details of this idea are explained below.
There might be confusion between the concepts of “Islam” and “Islamism”. We need to define and disambiguate both terms:
Thus, there are Muslims who are not Islamists. They are those Muslims who consider their religion a private matter, and do not act (not even indirectly) in ways that help Islam spread and “dominate the world” (to use a motto from the previous picture).
However, it will be argued later in this article that the percent of Muslims who are not Islamists is negligible, and cannot be relied upon in the effort to keep our ways of living unchanged. The conclusion from this will be that confronting Islamism in practice reduces to confronting Islam.
“Islamophobia” is supposed to be the unreasonable fear (“phobia”) against Islam because it is a “different religion”. This is a term used largely by Muslims in an attempt to discredit the effort of non-Muslims to resist the onslaught of Islam from their lives. It is also used by those few non-Muslims who are naïve enough to fail to understand this ulterior motive of the Muslims.
In reality, we the non-Muslims do not have any fear of Islam, unreasonable or not. Instead, we have the very reasonable and justifiable desire to live our lives the way we choose, preserving our values of democracy, secularism, suffrage, equality (nondiscrimination), freedom of speech, and, last but not least, freedom of criticism of authority, all of which are suppressed under Islam. It is the right of every person to choose a way to live. We non-Muslims choose to continue living in non-Muslim ways. This is our right. If Muslims want to call this right of ours “Islamophobia”, it is their right, but they are simply mistaken. (Not naïvely and unknowingly, however; they are mistaken intentionally and insidiously.) Charging non-Muslims of “Islamophobia” is analogous to charging mid-20th-century Allied Forces of “Nazistophobia”. The idea “We Muslims have only good intentions, don’t be afraid of us” sounds just as hypocritical and duplicitous as its analogous one: “We Nazis have only good intentions, don’t be afraid of us”.
The mere existence of the need of Muslims to insist using a term like “Islamophobia” should tell something to them:
Why is it
only Muslims who feel the need to charge non-Muslims of “Islamophobia”? Why is
Islam the odd-man-out?
As mentioned earlier, the proper weapon against an ideology is information: informing Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, about certain features of Islam. But the kind of information given to each group (Muslims vs. non-Muslims) must be of very different nature. Specifically:
Islam is based on some fundamental assumptions, or “pillars”. The pillars I am talking about have nothing to do with the so-called “pillars of Islam”, which are five,(*) and are of interest to Muslims, but not to us, the non-Muslim readers of this text. The following figure shows the two pillars of Islam that I have in mind.
The true pillars (assumptions) of Islam are the following:
To avoid insulting the oh-so-sensitive Muslims, I didn’t draw a cartoon of Muhammad in the previous figure. Instead, what you see is Muhammad Ali. I drew him with a beard, robe, turban, scimitar, and an angry look in his face, ready to disembowel some infidels. But cartoons are a different issue. Having said this, let’s now write down the crucial observation:
The mentioned “push” must take place in the minds of Muslims. It consists of essentially revealing to them:
Both arguments are based on Truth. That is the strongest point of this idea. They are not mere propaganda directed against Muslims and distorting the truth, but they expose the truth, relying exclusively on the Islamic texts: the Qur’an and the hadiths.
Regarding point #1, above, I have already made some effort to expose the issues in which the Qur’an conflicts with modern scientific knowledge. See the following article (the link opens in a new window):
The above article is neither definitive, nor immutable. It can be improved and augmented by sending me your corrections and criticisms. (Yes, we in the West accept criticism! That is a crucial point that makes us strong, and in which we differ from the Islamic mindset.) But it can also be translated into other languages, with Arabic, French, German, Russian, Dutch, and Turkish given priority, although any other language would be welcome. Your help is needed and greatly appreciated in translating the above article, if you find it useful. Others can write their own articles on this issue, or can help improve existent ones. In general, well-documented information about the Quranic author’s conspicuously deficient (and sometimes even hilarious) knowledge of the natural world must be disseminated and offered to anyone who has ears to listen.
However, there is a subtle difficulty here: “ears to listen” are not enough; one also needs knowledge of the natural world to appreciate the vast distance between reality and the Quranic view of the world. Otherwise, having ignorance of nature, one agrees with the author of the Qur’an because he, too, had ignorance of nature; zero agrees with zero, that is the problem. A case in point: the Qur’an speaks of the “heavens”, telling us that they are seven, stacked on top of each other (71:15), and the lowest of the seven heavens (hence nearest to us) has been decorated with stars (37:6), whereas the Moon is somewhere “in the midst” of the seven heavens (71:16). The person who has no idea how far the stars are, and in particular how much astonishingly farther than the Moon, cannot appreciate the downright stupidity of the Quranic worldview. In my discussions with pious Muslims I came to the conclusion that when they say “the universe” they mean, more or less, the illusionary “dome” that we think we see at night, which appears as if sprinkled with stars — in other words, what the author of the Qur’an refers to as “heaven” (lowest or whatever). That is, their ignorance matches the Quranic ignorance, which makes them perceive the latter as wisdom! Consequently, a minimum of knowledge of basic facts about the world is a requirement when exposing to Muslims the egregious scientific errors of the Qur’an.
Regarding point #2 (Muhammad’s atrocities), what I already have is definitely not my final work on the subject, but it’s good enough for a start:
Here, the non-Muslim should be warned that most Muslims have never heard of the murders, tortures, and genocides that Muhammad committed. Only some Islamic scholars know them. So, the Islamic prudence, over the centuries that followed Muhammad’s death, “felt” that something was very wrong with Muhammad’s immoral behavior, given the narrations of all those crimes he committed. But instead of questioning his character (and hence his capacity to dictate to them the correct morality), they questioned the stories! So, like the spider that hides unwanted objects in a cocoon, they wove a dense web around the earliest narrations — those that revealed the murderous character of their “prophet” — denying their validity and choosing to teach their students other stories that didn’t portray Muhammad as a killer. And they did this even though the earliest narrations were chronologically closest to Muhammad’s time. Hence, with fewer people having participated in the narration line, and fewer chances to result in a “broken telephone” situation, those stories should be the most trustworthy! But no, the Islamic scholars didn’t like them, so they buried them under the desert sand (or they buried their heads in the sand — depending on which analogy you find most fitting). Unfortunately for them, the stories still exist, and the offensive odor of ptomaine still oozes out of the sand, no matter how many layers of “abrogation” they piled upon the corpses.
Non-Muslims, too, must be informed about Islam, because ignorance of Islam and what is coming with it is an inexcusable attitude, implying indifference for the future of our children.
Several members of Western societies today, including politicians who take crucial decisions, have the self-defeating attitude of “Let’s adjust our ways and customs so as to accommodate the Muslims who become part of our societies.” This is a downright idiotic attitude, and such politicians are plain morons — no need to mince our words on this existential issue. The reasons are explained in what follows: first, Islam is a fascist ideology, bent on replacing democracy with the version of fascism called “Islamofascism” (see next, §2.2.1); and second, Islam is a religious cult (see §2.2.2), and as such it will not allow Muslims to integrate into Western societies; instead, it will always be trying to spread and change the host society, having the “weapon” of demographics on its side. (In this article I argue that a cult like Islam creates a vicious circle of segregation leading to poverty, leading to more Muslims, leading to ignorance, leading to segregation... and so on and so forth; and vicious circles are notoriously hard to break.)
So it is vitally important for non-Muslims to be aware of the following issues, so as not to have delusions about the nature, character, and ultimate aim of Islam.
Dictionaries (e.g., Merriam-Webster’s) define fascism as “a way of organizing a society [...] in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government”. The American Heritage Dictionary adds that fascism is “oppressive, dictatorial control”.
I would add that fascism implies the imposition of certain ideas, beliefs, and ways of thinking and behaving upon all whose lives are controlled by a fascist regime, which is a totalitarian regime.
Islam satisfies all the above conditions to a tee. I would like to argue for this supposition.
First of all, Muslims themselves do not have any problem with this idea, and they will promptly assure you that Islam is “a full way of living.” What they mean by this is that Islam dictates to you not only religious matters, such as when and how you will pray or fast, but also matters entirely unrelated to religion, such as how you should brush your teeth. Islam intervenes in every aspect of your life.(*) It is a government, “which people are not allowed to disagree with”, as per the previous definition. If you don’t want to be a pious Muslim, then pious Muslims will intervene and exert pressure on you, forcing you to fully obey their religious regulations. Precisely this intervention in one’s life is what is fascist about Islam. As a Muslim, you cannot be simply a Muslim for yourself; Islam is not just between you and Allah — says the vast majority of Muslims today. You must put pressure on others, so that they follow with precision the Islamic rules. That’s fascism.
Sinning is not a private matter in Islam. It is not true that if you sin then God will “take care of you”, so others should not be concerned. In Islam, others are indeed concerned, and wish to “correct” the sinner, punishing him or her. (By the way, thus they give to third-party observers the impression that they don’t trust Allah, the hereafter, and the Qur’anic promise for “hell fire”.) In Iran and Saudi Arabia, if you are caught engaged in homosexual acts you are summarily executed, even if those acts were hidden and concerned no one else except you and your sexual partner. In Turkey, if you drink an alcoholic drink in a pious neighborhood you are met with contemptuous looks that wish to make you understand that you should not do this. And if you do it during a period of Islamic fasting (e.g., Ramadan), you might be physically attacked. (Here is a recent example, and it didn’t even happen during Ramadan.) That, too, is fascism.
Secondly, Muslims do not exert pressure only on other Muslims. They extend this force to everyone, including non-Muslims. They do this usually through indirect means, especially when they live in societies in which they are the majority. A traditional way of exerting pressure is by relegating non-Muslims to second-class citizens, forcing them to pay a “non-Muslim tax” (in Arabic, “jizya”: جزية), mandated by the Qur’an (9:29). In older times, three choices were given to non-Muslims: either pay the tax, or convert to Islam, or die. Today, although the “die” part is generally ignored, paying the non-Muslim tax is still alive in many Islamic regimes. But pressure can be exerted in various other ways, which I would call “micro-ways”. For instance, in December, 2009, Silva Kashif, a 16 year old Christian Sudanese girl was whipped, receiving 60 lashes because she was wearing a skirt that was “too short” according to Islamic shariah rules: it was reaching up to her knee. The Christian girl was walking alone near her home in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, and was arrested without her family knowing about it. She was brought to the court where she was summarily convicted, and was whipped by a female officer in the presence of the (male) judge. Her family learned about this only after the whipping of the girl was over. This is only one example among many, showing that Muslims consider Islamic rule to be universal rule, and that every other rule, custom, or cultural trait is “wrong” and must be eliminated, replaced by Islamic customs and tradition. You cannot use logic to argue against Islamic authorities, nor can you criticize them. That, as well, is fascism.
Some authors claim that Islamofascism and fascism are two different notions. But of course! If they were identical there would be no need to add the prefix “Islamo-” in front of “fascism”, and we would use exclusively the shorter of the two words. Islamofascism and fascism share a common core of traits, which was described in the opening paragraphs of this subsection. The sad news is that the percent of Muslims who belong to the described core (i.e., those who want to see their religion dominating the world, and who do not consider faith a strictly personal matter) is huge (see next diagram).
The above diagram tries to depict the idea that the Islamists (forming the “Islamofascist core”) constitute the overwhelming majority among the adherents of Islam. One must be really lucky to find a Muslim who consciously places himself or herself out of the said core, in the narrow strip of the periphery depicted in the diagram. In my experience, Muslims who stay out of the Islamofascist core are highly educated and have lived in Western societies. I do not have data to support this claim, only my personal experiences through a large number of interactions with Muslims (primarily because of my web articles). Among a number of such interactions and exchange of opinions of the order of 100, I have met only a single person who says he is a Muslim and explicitly states that he is not interested in seeing Islam dominating the world (in fact, he does not want it), plus that he thinks religion should be a private matter.(*) However, my personal experiences are not of scientific value. Non-Muslims should do some research collecting evidence by which the percent of the “Islamofascist core”, as defined above, can be estimated.
Although the term “cult” can have both negative and neutral (and sometimes even positive) connotation, I will use it for Islam because I don’t know how else to refer to the concept that I define below. When speaking of Islam, I prefer to qualify “cult” by the adjectives: “religious, aggressive, violent, and gigantic” — terms that I will explain soon. Firstly, allow me to define what I mean by “cultish”.
The more of the above conditions are
satisfied, the more the organization resembles a cult. Thus, “being a cult” is
not a true-or-false notion, but one that takes a value along a continuum. Let’s
examine how many of the above conditions are satisfied by five well-known
examples: Islam, Christianity (present-day and in general), Jehovah’s Witnesses (a Christian
organization), Nazism (as practiced in pre-WWII Germany), and Communism (as
practiced in the Soviet Union). The symbols I use are:
Thus, based on the above set of conditions, and admittedly on the more-or-less arbitrary grades assigned to the degree of satisfaction of those conditions, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Islam qualify best for the title of cult as understood (defined) by means of the conditions, followed (but at some distance) by Nazism and Communism, and followed (at a far distance) by Christianity.
A qualification of the “marriage within” condition that adds to making Islam cultish — but which is specific to Islam, so I did not include it above — is that Muslim women are prohibited from marrying non-Muslim men, but Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women. Such women are allowed to keep their religious convictions, but the children born out of such marriage are to be raised as Muslims. That’s one of several reasons for which I claim that the cult of Islam qualifies as aggressive. And this brings me to the explanation of the attributes that I mentioned earlier: a religious, aggressive, violent, and gigantic cult.
In Islam, the notion of “afterlife” is not what we non-Muslims think — especially those non-Muslims among us who were raised in a Christian background. Understanding what “afterlife” means to a Muslim is vital if we want to understand why it is that the suicide bombers who detonate themselves killing women with babies are always Muslims, never Christians, Jews, Hindus, or anything else.
Those of us who were raised in a Christian background were inculcated with a certain notion of “afterlife” learning what happens in paradise and hell. Specifically, the idea is that what goes to paradise or hell is not the human body itself, with flesh and bones, but the soul of the deceased individual. The soul is an immaterial entity, therefore it needs not eat, drink, sleep, or perform any biological function in general. It simply is there, the way a mind is, and what happens to the soul depends on where it went: in paradise, pleasant things happen; in hell, well... — what else — hellish things happen. That’s what, in general, the average Christian believes. (I used to be one up to my teenage years, so I learned these notions just like every other child raised in a Christian society.)
In Islam, things do not work like that. What goes to paradise or hell is not just the soul, but also the body. That is, the same individual who lives in “this life”, continues living after death, and what happens to him or her depends only on where he or she went, as well as on whether we’re talking about a “he” or a “she”. There is a little footnote here: the body stays in the grave until Judgment Day, meanwhile getting a “foretaste” of what is going to happen to it in paradise or hell. But — footnote on the footnote — if you are a “martyr” who died for the cause of Allah(*) (i.e., in our times, a jihadist who blew himself into smithereens along with some infidel babies) you skip the unpleasant stage of the grave and go directly to paradise! (61:10-12; see also a hadith mentioned later.) You wake up, and — voila! — you’re greeted by the Prophet. Now, that it must be the body (with flesh and bones) that goes wherever it goes is evident from the things promised in the Qur’an to those who go to paradise, because they are all material goods: thrones decorated (56:15) for them to recline and eat, rivers of wine, of “unpolluted” water, of milk, and of honey (47:15), fruits like grapes (78:31-32), thorn-less lotuses (56:28)... Strangely, they are only things found in 7th-century Arabia; and even more strangely, things longed for by the dweller of the desert: greenery, running water, and shadow (56:29-31), lots of shadow (4:57)... but let’s leave the mystery of why Allah did not promise any kiwis, papayas, or mangos in his eternal book (with the “perfect language”) for the Muslims to answer, as well as how the promise of greenery, water, and shadow might be perceived by the occasional American Indian of the Amazon rainforest who might want to convert to Islam. The point is, all these are material things, and as such they require a human in flesh and bones to be enjoyed. Oh! And since I mentioned the flesh, Allah promised something more, but to men only (since men are Allah’s exclusive audience in the Qur’an). He promised them sexual pleasures — in a decent language of course — through the “houris” of paradise, who are supposed to be beautiful-looking virgins (37:48-49, 56:35-37, 78:33).
Common Muslim men, of course, worried about a little logistic problem here: a houri will be a virgin (56:36) before the sexual act, all right, but obviously won’t be such after it; and since Allah has created the houris once and for all (56:35, perfect tense), and doesn’t keep creating them all the time just to satisfy the biological urges of the virtuous and righteous men of the paradise (among who might be some suicide bombers, those who blew up children and pregnant women who “should die” for the cause of Allah — see below), a deep philosophical Islamic conundrum peppered with existential agony arises: “Hey bro, how the f__k are we gonna have enough virgins to f__k, man?” No problem. Islamic scholars found the answer: the houris will automatically be re-converted to virgins immediately after the act, ready to be given for the satisfaction of the next virile man in line. Oh yea, the men will be virile in paradise, no matter how many scattered pieces they formed when they died. According to a hadith collection by Abu `Isa Muhammad ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi, the prophet Muhammad promised that martyrs will have 72 virgins available in paradise.(*) And according to a Turkish scholar of our times they will have a constant erection (without feeling the horrible pain that comes with it when it happens in “this” life — a medical condition called “priapism”).
I should mention that the Qur’an itself does not go into such details. What you read in the previous paragraph are logical consequences of the Quranic promise of life with flesh and bones in the afterlife, together with the promise of sex. When you make such explicit promises, and people naturally have the philosophical questions and existential worries that I mentioned, rational answers must be given, and such are the answers that you read above, given by scholars. If they sound somewhat unrealistic and bloated, it’s because Islamic scholars who promise what will happen after death are a bit like politicians who promise what will happen after elections.
What’s important for us to understand is that, with the Quranic promise of an afterlife with flesh and bones, death in Islam is not what it is in other religions and cultures, and especially in Christianity. It is simply a “passage” from this condition into that condition. Indeed, for young Muslims who don’t have valuable belongings to worry about, and who are notoriously sexually deprived (because Islam bans premarital relations and is really serious about it), that condition seems much more desirable than this one. Add to all this that imams teach them that Muhammad in paradise feels happy when they kill infidels (where an “infidel” can be even a Muslim of a different Islamic denomination than the “martyr’s”, such as Shia, or Sunni), and you get the full explanation of why not all Muslims are suicide bombers, but all suicide bombers are Muslims.
Some “thinkers” of dubious analytical skills have tried to persuade us that those suicide bombers are “not true Muslims” but “mere thugs” who use religion as a pretext to commit their crimes. They are disgruntled marginal youngsters, they say, who hijack Islam — oh, that pure and innocent “religion of peace”! — and, like common criminals, they commit murders. Well, it is my impression that they don’t just commit murders, you know. They blow themselves up! They turn into pieces of bloody flesh! And there is no ideology other than Islam that promises all the worldly goods, sex, and a happy Prophet who receives them as “martyrs” in his arms, once they do this. Have you seen any other murderer, a non-Muslim, maybe a mafia member, who so eagerly dies such death while killing his victims? Perhaps the said “thinkers” could explain to us why there are no disgruntled and marginalized young Christians who blow themselves up, or atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, or anything other than Islamists. In the poor favelas of Brazil, for instance, there are millions of people who would fit perfectly the profile of disgruntled, marginalized young man, perhaps even sexually deprived if he lives under special conditions or has some dysfunction. Why don’t we ever hear about a suicide bomber from the non-Muslim part of the world? If suicide bombers are “not true Muslims”, why was Abdelhamid Abaaoud (the mastermind of the Paris suicide attacks of November 13, 2015) brandishing the Qur’an in his hand?
What is that book that this “disgruntled young thug”,
Think about it: would the above “mastermind” (“master-zombie” is more fitting, I think, since minds are what humans have) of the 11/13/2015 Paris attacks not follow the so-called “five pillars of Islam”? Would he deny that 1. Allah is one and only, and Muhammad is his prophet? Would he object to 2. pray five times a day, 3. give charity, 4. fast, or 5. do the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj)? I bet not. So where is the “not Muslim” in him? In that he forgot just one verse of the Qur’an, verse 2:256 that says “Let there be no compulsion in religion”? But he followed literally so many other Quranic verses, such as the ones mentioned in the previous sub-section (2:216, 4:74, 4:89, 8:15-16, 8:39, 8:65, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, and, last but not least, 61:4), which ask Muslims to kill, maim, and vanquish non-Muslims, engaging with them in warfare. Let’s see verse 8:65, from surah 8, which by the way has the so very peaceful title: “The Spoils of War”. Says 8:65: “O Prophet [i.e., Muhammad]! Urge the believers [i.e., the Muslims] to fight! If there are among you twenty with determination, they will vanquish two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are people who do not understand.” So, what is it that the above-shown now-dead zombie misunderstood? And who is to judge whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud is a better or worse Muslim than those who follow 2:256 and forget all those other, hatred-inspiring verses? There is no supreme authority in Islam. If Islam was like the Roman Catholic Church of Christianity, there would be a Pope who would deem zombies of the likes of Abdelhamid Abaaoud heretics; if Islam was like Orthodox Christianity, an Ecumenical Synod presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul) would do the same thing: heresy! In Islam there is nothing like that kind of authority. So every Islamic sect or faction has equal rights with every other sect or faction to claim infallibility and 100% correct interpretation of the Qur’an, and such rights follow logically and objectively, no matter what any Islamic scholar opines. So, again: why was the above zombie objectively “not a true Muslim”?
It is vital for us to understand that those who claim that the Islamic jihadists are an exceptional group who are “not true Muslims”, and that the “true Muslims” can isolate them, are dangerous for our existence. We will never see the “true Muslims” isolating, let alone fighting against, the jihadists. My non-Muslim friends who reside in the Middle East and are native Arabic speakers tell me that there was a general delight, a happiness among Muslims after learning about the 11/13/2015 carnage in Paris, with the 129 innocent people dead. This attitude was evident in their blogs and messages exchanged in Arabic, but the official news media — and especially the English-speaking ones — were expressing only sorrow. (“Shedding crocodile tears” is a better way to put it.) For some documented evidence that the 11/13/2015 carnage in Paris caused delight to the average Muslim, consider this piece of news: in the friendly soccer game between Turkey and Greece on 11/17/2015 in Istanbul, during the pre-match 1-minute of silence — tribute for the Paris victims of terrorism — the Turkish fans booed and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” Thus, rather than respecting the victims, they sided with the terrorists. (Here is a report, and here is video capturing the event.) And we all remember the videos of celebrating Palestinians after the 9/11/2001 New York attacks, with several of them shooting in the air, jubilant because of 3,000 deaths. Who are the “true” Muslims who will isolate the jihadists, again?
In short: a violent cult (§2.2.2) that considers death only as a “passage” to a promised better life (and has all this woven into the fabric of its very doctrine) can never be free of terrorism and atrocities. Terrorism is only the tip of the iceberg that’s called Islam. To have an Islam without terrorism is like expecting that the tip of the iceberg can be cut off, and the iceberg will remain there under water, without resurfacing with a new tip.
There is one more argument that needs to be answered here. Critics of the above position ask: why wasn’t Islam violent — at least why was it suicide-bomber free — for so many centuries, up until the end of the 20th C.? Thus, don’t you see that there can be Islam without terrorism now, as there was back then?
The short answer is: No. To analyze this “no” we need to understand that things have been deteriorating constantly in the psychology of the Muslims during the last 100 years or so, and the situation reached a breaking point only recently. The Muslim is told that Islam is the “perfect religion”. But he looks around him in Islamic lands and sees anything but perfection. The “kuffar” (non-believers, singular: kafir: كافر) were the ones who went to the Moon, whereas the Muslim, if he didn’t buy a kuffar-made car, he’d have to move around riding a camel. The kuffar designed and built his air conditioning, whereas without them he would need a slave with a fan made of ostrich feathers. The kuffar did the same with his refrigerator, whereas he searches the Qur’an and cannot even find the word “ice” in it! (In his “perfect book”.) Such examples could dwarf in size this article. In addition, he sees “the Jooz” occupying Palestinian lands, using hi-tech kuffar-made technology, and feels impotent to react. So, where is the perfection of his religion? (Which, we said, is not just a religion but a “full recipe of living”.) The resentment that he feels is not toward the basic tenets of his religion, but toward the infidels. They must be in error. So, the majority of Muslims swallows this bitterness and only expresses jubilation when news of carnage among the kuffar arrive. But a small minority of mainly young men reacts more violently against the “injustice” toward the perfection of their religion, they wrap a vest with explosives around their waist, and think that they’ll kill two birds with one stone: eliminate some kuffar, and go to receive their daily dosage of virgins. When comparing today’s Islam with what it used to be in past centuries, it is important to understand that the chasm between what the “kuffar” have achieved technologically, and what the “perfect religion” has achieved (umm... nothing?) has only reached gigantic proportions in the last few decades.
As a third-party observer (being an atheist), I have some advice to give to Christians regarding their understanding of and attitude toward Islam. And, when I say “Christians”, I of course don’t narrow this term down to Protestants (the non-Catholic and non-Eastern Orthodox Christians), who have unabashedly hijacked the term “Christian” in the English language and made it refer only to themselves, as if no one else is a Christian. When I say “Christian” I mean everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and that of course includes two of the largest Christian denominations: the Catholics and the Orthodox.(*) Since Christianity still is the largest religion on the planet, with around 2.2 billion adherents, a special mention about them is in order.
Christians often have a peculiar but psychologically understandable attitude toward Islam. They think that “Islam is another religion like our own”. That is, subconsciously they make an analogy: just as Christianity is a religion, with its rituals, its churches and priests, its celebrations (Christmas, Easter, etc.), its holy book (the Bible), and so on, likewise, Islam is a similar religion, with its own rituals, its mosques and imams, its celebrations (Ramadan, etc.), its holy book (the Qur’an), and so on. They probably extend this analogy to the inaugurators of the two religions, finding that the analogue of Jesus in Islam is Muhammad. Even though the vast majority of Christians believe that Jesus is God (believing in a Triadic God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with the Jehovah’s Witnesses being an exception), they are willing to admit that Muhammad, as a prophet for the Muslims (although not a prophet in general) had some qualities that were similar to those of Jesus, as they know him from their books: gentle, generous, just, amiable, a philanthropist in every sense.
Well, what I want to warn Christians about it that they can’t be more wrong about both Islam and Muhammad.
Their analogy between Christianity and Islam as religions is wrong for the reasons I explained in the previous sub-sections. Islam is a fascist ideology (§2.2.1), intending to replace Christianity with itself. Christians believe they can live side-by-side with the Muslims. Well, an overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t believe so, dear Christians. Please take another look at the figure in §2.2.1 and try to understand the magnitude of the percent (hence the absolute number) of Muslims who want to see Islam dominating the world and replacing all religions, becoming the only religion. You may wish to live side-by-side with them, but it takes two to tango; they don’t want it. (And when I say “they” I always refer to the vast majority of Muslims, who are Islamists at heart.) But note this analogy now: if two children live side-by-side, and one of the two has a pacifist character but the other one is a bully, then it is more than certain that the bully will be the dominant among the two, the pacifist child will suffer, and their relation will be too problematic. It won’t be a relation of friendship, as the pacifist child naïvely hopes, but one of coercion, sorrow, and psychological pressure.
As for the analogy between Jesus Christ and Muhammad... oh, Jesus Christ! This one is so ridiculous that I don’t know if I should cry bitterly or laugh hysterically. This analogy can only be the product of plain ignorance of Christians about the life of Muhammad — the same ignorance that Muslims have. Jesus, as far as we can tell from the Christian book of New Testament (the only source about Jesus’ life) did not harm a single fly. He cannot be accused of any wrongdoing, and this must be admitted even by the most belligerent atheists, those with the most polemical attitude against religion (and we all know who I am talking about). In contrast, Muhammad, as far as we can tell from the Islamic hadiths (the only sources about Muhammad’s life) committed murders of such incredible barbarity that putting him on a par with Christ sounds like a “sacrilege” even to an atheist like me, and bespeaks of complete ignorance and naïveté. Please, dear Christians, go and read this article that I mentioned earlier, learn what kinds of murders Muhammad committed (and for what reasons, to boot) and then think again about your subconscious analogy between Christ and Muhammad.
A special mention should be made about the clergy of Christianity. Priests, bishops, etc., are the worst in understanding the problem of the world with Islam, and the slowest to react. One would think that they should be the first to feel the need to protect their religion. But — and there is again a subconscious force at work here — they employ just the opposite attitude: “live and let live”, because they feel secure in their positions, and in their everyday’s dealings with life. But this is a selfish attitude. True, their own positions and offices might not be in danger in the near future, but their religion as a whole is in grave danger in the distant future. Priests are conservative people; this is understandable. But rather than feeling cozy and secure in their offices, and holding the same ignorance about Islam as the average member of their “flock”, they should be pioneers in learning about Islam, understand it deeply, not as “another religion”, but as the sociopolitical phenomenon which it is; understand that their religion faces an existential threat in the distant future, and act so as to defend their beliefs for the future generations, instead of dozing lethargically in the warmth of their offices. After all, Christianity is supposed to be all about helping the other, not about securing ourselves.
So, if Christians, for their own mental and physical health, cannot and should not live side-by-side with the bully of the neighborhood, what should they do? This is the subject of the next sub-section, but it concerns every non-Muslim, not just Christians.
The actions mentioned in §2.1 (informing Muslims about the falsity of their two fundamental assumptions) are long-term. There are also some short-term actions that can (and should) be taken.
I will not forget who did this.
3. What We Should Avoid Doing
What we must avoid should be clear from the previous ideas. We must avoid the use of power to enforce our preferences and desires, which is a characteristic of fascism. We must not fall into the same trap that Islam uses to entrap Muslims: restricting freedoms, thus curbing innovation and creativity, and hence ruining any chance for progress and development.
Various extreme right-wing and even fascist movements are on the rise in Europe. This is only expected of people who don’t want to think, and understand that fascism is what Islam practices, hence by employing fascist policies we simply copycat Islam, only after rejecting its fundamental religious doctrines. Islamofascism should not be confronted with more fascism, just as crime is not dealt with by means of more crime. If someone steals money from you, the proper (civilized) reaction is not to steal money from him as well, but to see it that the thief faces justice. The analogue of “letting Islam face justice” is to act as described in §2, above.
It might appear that some other forms of coercion of Muslims is to dictate to them how they should dress, and how many mosques they should build. But those two issues are not so simple, they are moot points. Here is what I think.
I disapprove the way women of Islamic families are dressed, because not all of them endorse and enjoy their hijabs, chadors, niqabs, or burqas. Thus, as long as there are some women who are forced (by family, by societal Islamic norms) to dress like that, and as long as the Islamic society is intolerant to women who reject the Islamic dress code, I find that there is a human rights violation issue there. Several Muslim women might think, “It is my right and pride to be dressed like that!” Yes, but you should be free to exercise your right if all other women agreed with you, and there was no woman whose freedom of choice is violated because she doesn’t have the strength or stamina to oppose an entire society that forces a behavior on her. If you want evidence that the Islamic attire is not appreciated by all women, please read this article in Spiegel, in which you’ll learn about a Muslim guy who has his wife tied to a chain; and another case, in which the wife of a Muslim tried to reach the authorities by phone but failed, and remains miserably under the Muslim “lord’s” confinement. The world for women under the Islamic attire, it seems, is not always rosy.
An analogy to this is the reason for which we don’t write the religion of a person on id cards. Some people might say, “It is my right and pride to see my religion displayed among my other personal data on my id card!” Yes, but if some people choose not to have their religion displayed, or — worse — choose to display a religion different from the dominant one in their society, those people might be discriminated against. So we say, better not to display anyone’s religion on id’s, rather than have some of them discriminated against. Same with women’s Islamic dress codes.
This is what happens to women in societies in which Islam dominates: they are
confused with suitcases. Muslims, please don’t
I have a distaste for the architectural features and uses of mosques. Specifically, the phallic shape of their minarets appears offensive to me, and I find that the voice of the muezzin calling to prayer sounds like dog howling. (At least that’s the impression I got when I first heard the muezzin’s call in Ankara, Turkey.) Now, people who have been raised in Islamic societies might find the shape of the minarets beautiful, and the muezzin’s call like music to their ears. This is understandable; tastes are personal, there is no objective basis upon which I can rely and persuade Muslims that their minarets resemble phalluses and their muezzins sound like dog howling. Nor is it possible for Muslims to persuade me of the opposite, for the same reason: taste is subjective. However, there is an objective problem here. It is that as long as we live in a society that accommodates both Muslims and non-Muslims, we should not act in ways that invade the personal space of the other. Thus, when the muezzin howls like a dog (in my subjective opinion, OK!), it is him who intrudes my personal space, without me intruding his, and this is entirely objective. I will not insist much on the phallus-like minarets, because I can always turn my face away (although the “uglification” of the city in which I live does bother me), but the matter with the muezzin’s call is more serious, because sound comes from everywhere, and we cannot be trying to work or talk closing our ears. A good analogy is smoking in the bus. Why do we not smoke in vehicles of public transportation? Because there might be (and usually there are) non-smokers there. If I smoke, it is the smoke of my cigarette that goes uninvited into the nostrils of the non-smoker. The non-smoker didn’t send anything to me, I sent something to the non-smoker; I am the active party in this situation, so it is I who has to refrain from what I am doing. I cannot accuse the non-smoker of “restricting my freedom to smoke”, because my “freedom” (to act irresponsibly) goes and restricts the non-smoker’s freedom. After all, by the same token, the non-smoker should have the “freedom” to spray sulfuric acid my way and scar my face. Same with the muezzin situation. The Muslims’ “freedom” to listen to the muezzin howling five times a day is my own oppression. I don’t invade their space, they invade mine. If they want to have the “freedom” to listen to a man howling like a dog, then by the same token I should have the “freedom” to set up a gigantic system of loudspeakers just outside their mosque, fire it up at 130 decibels with rock “music” (yes, “music”, because I would choose noise of the worst kind), and compete, seeing who is the one that more powerfully invades the personal space of the other. For something analogous to the case of the offensive shape of mosque minarets, if Muslims are free to pollute visually my town, by the same token I should be free to erect gigantic posters of pork meat opposite their mosques. Why should their “freedom” for visual pollution be allowed but mine banned?
Here is a visual way to let Muslims understand how their minarets appear to me: “giving me the middle tower”.
Therefore, dress codes and mosque building are not issues that can be easily taken care of on the basis of “freedoms”, because whose freedoms should be respected? What we should not do is fall for the nonsense of some feeble-minded “thinkers” who try to convince us that insisting on our right to live as we want is somehow inferior to the “right” of our guests to impose their ways of living upon us.
|Footnotes (clicking on the caret (^) on the
left of the footnote brings back to the text)
(^) The five “pillars of Islam” that Muslims themselves describe as such are: 1. belief in the one-ness of Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s prophet, 2. prayer five times a day, 3. charity, 4. fasting, and 5. pilgrimage to Mecca.
(^) For just one recent example, consider this piece of news: in Turkey, the State-sponsored “Religious Affairs Directorate” opined that engaged couples should not hold hands in public. Note: most of my references to news from the Islamic world come from Turkey, not because Turkey is a particularly conservative Islamic country (quite the contrary: it includes a significant proportion of secularists, and is one of the most developed countries among those in which Islam dominates), but because my main source of news from the Islamic world is the English-language edition of Hürriyet Daily News, a progressive Turkish newspaper.
(^) Unfortunately for other Muslims, that person does not believe that the Qur’an is the word of Allah. Now, how can one not believe in this most fundamental principle of Islam and still claim to be a Muslim? Out of tact, I did not ask him this question.
(^) Muslims have given a new and twisted meaning to the word “martyr”. Normally, a martyr is one who is captured by his enemies or opponents, asked to change his beliefs or supply information under torture (that’s the original meaning of the word, coming from Greek “martyria” = testimony) and does not yield, suffering torture and eventually death. But in the Muslim jargon all that part of the capturing, torture, and refusal to yield is gone, retaining only the “death”: you go and slaughter some innocents (including children — I won’t tire of repeating it), without anyone forcing you but by your own free will, killing yourself while committing the murder, and you are christened a “martyr”!
(^) Here is what Muhammad promised to martyrs, according to the mentioned hadith (“Jami` at-Tirmidhi”), which is considered “strong” (i.e., highly reliable): “There are six things with Allah for the martyr. He is forgiven with the first flow of blood (he suffers), he is shown his place in Paradise, he is protected from punishment in the grave, secured from the greatest terror, the crown of dignity is placed upon his head—and its gems are better than the world and what is in it — he is married to seventy two wives among Al-Huril-'Ayn of Paradise, and he may intercede for seventy of his close relatives.” All these benefits are for you if you courageously blow up some pregnant women, children, and elderly people, turning them into human mince. Yup. Muhammad said it, not I.
(^) English speakers should know that the term “Christian” in most other languages is used in the way I use it here: everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. And that definition, by the way, includes also Jehovah’s Witnesses, who accept Christ as the Son of God, but who don’t accept that Christ is God, whereas most other Christian denominations assume Christ to be one of the three natures of God (the dogma of Trinity), to the best of my knowledge.
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