Wednesday, June 06, 2007

When Butchery Masquerades as a Religion

My latest Malaysia Today column:

From the Anti-Jihadist—When Butchery Masquerades as a Religion

My antagonist Mr. Farouk says he opposes terrorism. He even says he opposes Islamic terrorism. Well and good Mr. Farouk. Now, are you willing to show your true bona fides and condemn Islamic terrorists specifically by name? Here at Malaysia Today or anywhere else?

What, you don’t remember any of the names? Let me help you with that. Here is just a short list of a few of the names of some active Islamic terror groups:

-Hamas
-Al Qaeda
-Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia
-Moro Islamic Liberation Front
-Hezbollah
-Abu Sayyaf
-Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade
-Ansar al-Islam

This is but a small sampling. The US State Department presently lists a total of 29 Muslim/Islamic/Islamist terrorist groups. And new ones are being founded all the time, like that newly emerged group that’s causing all sorts of troubles right now in Lebanon.

So Mr. Farouk, you won’t condemn Islamic terror groups by name? OK, how about some specific individual Muslim terrorists by name? Oh, you need some help with that? Alright, here’s a short excerpt from the American FBI’s current list of wanted terrorists:

-Osama bin Laden (instigator of 9-11, numerous other attacks, thousands killed)
-Adam Yahiye Gadahn (American, indicted for treason)
-Abdelkarim Hussein Mohamed Al-Nasser (Khobar Towers bombing, 1996, 20 dead)
-Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (US embassy bombings, 1998, 225 dead)
-Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali (US embassy bombings, 1998, 225 dead)
-Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam (US embassy bombings, 1998, 225 dead)
-Jaber A. Elbaneh (providing aid and support to terrorists)
-Ali Saed Bin Ali El-Hoorie (Khobar Towers bombing, 1996, 20 dead)

Interesting how so many of these thugs and mass murderers seem to have the same one recurring name, isn’t it?

As of the time of writing, you won’t find a single mention of any name, either of terrorist groups or terrorist individuals, anywhere on Mr. Farouk’s website (www.jidal.org). Now, why is that, Mr. Farouk? Since you can compose a column in response to me in less than 24 hours, and make numerous comments too, you obviously have the time. So, why do you refuse to specifically condemn groups and individuals who are supposedly defaming your religion?

It’s very telling that not even a few hundred Muslims are willing to protest en masse the ongoing bloodbath committed, by their co-religionists, all around the world, in the name of their faith. There have been no Muslim mass protests against any acts of Jihadist terrorism, anywhere in the world. Not even once. Does anyone ever wonder why this is?

Now, Mr. Farouk has asked me for some answers to his questions.

FAROUK: (1) Do you acknowledge the existence of divergent opinions in Islam? If so, can you please tell us why you refuse to mention these scholars who REJECT the apostasy law?

Islam, to say the least, is not known for its encouragement of dissent or different opinions. That’s why the media is state controlled throughout the Islamic world…and this includes Malaysia, as any media outlet in Malaysia that runs afoul of the (Muslim) authorities can quickly have its license to operate suspended or revoked. This was shown in the ‘Motoon’ brouhaha in 2006, when a newspaper in east Malaysia that published one of the cartoons (The Sarawak Tribune) was forced to shut down permanently. The government suspended three other media licenses as well in 2006.

As I said before in my last column, the majority of Islamic scholars have always agreed that apostasy is a capital offense. This means scholars who don’t want to kill apostates out of hand (which apparently includes Mr. Farouk) have always been in the minority. Because of “Prophet” Mohammed’s example, this state of affairs isn’t likely to change anytime soon. If ever. After all, when it comes to the quixotic task of ‘reforming’ Islam, the smart money isn’t on the reformers.

Even if one says that apostates should not be executed, this is hardly the same as saying that Muslims should be free to leave Islam, or that apostates should not be persecuted. If there are any Muslim-majority countries where ex-Muslims are free to openly follow faiths other than Islam (or no faith), without threat, fear, or harassment, I haven’t heard of it. Even in the West, apostates from Islam are not completely safe from Islamic retaliation.

So, having covered the issue of apostasy, one wonders if there are any ‘divergent opinions’ in Dar al Islam on these other salient topics and questions:
-The need to uphold and spread Sharia law throughout the world
-How can the barbarous act of stoning adulterous women be justified? Why are adulterous men not stoned?
-Must the Islamic punishment for homosexuality be death?
-Why must Muslims be afraid of other faiths that may proselytize to Muslims?
-Are armed jihad attacks ever called for against infidels? If yes, who decides?
-Is more “Islam” ever the solution to any problem? When has this ever worked?
-Is virtue enforced a virtue worth having?

FAROUK: (2) Do you acknowledge that the Quran has a provision for people who inherit God’s revelation but no uphold it? If so, why do you continue to associate Quranic teachings with the acts of Muslims?

I suppose the answer to this depends on what one’s idea of a ‘revelation’ is. In my humble opinion, ‘Allah’ is but the imaginary friend of a 7th century Arab paedophile, which means the Quran has nothing to do with God (assuming there is one in the first place). Mohammed’s vile behavior as a warlord, brigand, thief, and terrorist completely discredits him in the eyes of many, and without him, there is no Quran and no Islam. This renders this whole nonsensical question moot. Nevertheless, I continue to hold that Muslims act as they do not in spite of the Quran, but because of it. In my view, greater Muslim adherence to the Quran would increase their sufferings, of not just the Muslims themselves, but for anyone that lives in their midst as well.

FAROUK: (3) What do you mean by ‘virtually every Muslim country’ in numerical terms? Kindly provide evidence (statistical, not anecdotal which anyone can make up) to show the ‘overwhelming degree’ which you stand by?

For the answer to this question, let’s turn to Freedom House. Freedom House is a well-known and respected organization that measures the progress of freedom in nations and territories worldwide. Freedom House releases a report annually that gives every country in the world a ranking from 1 to 7 (7 being the worst) in civil liberties and political rights. These rankings are classified into three categories: Free, Partly Free and Not Free.

Using Freedom House’s data from their 2006 Annual Report (the most recent report available), we find that Muslim nations are categorized as follows:

Muslim-majority countries-3 free, 20 partly free, 23 not free
Muslim-majority countries a decade ago-1 free, 13 partly free, 32 not free

The 2006 Freedom House report shows ratings for the period from December 1, 2004 to November 30, 2005. During that time, Mali, Senegal, and Indonesia were the only Muslim-majority countries to earn a “free” rating, though none of them received the best possible “free” rating of ‘2’ (adding the civil liberties and political rights rankings together). Canada, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Germany, and the U.S. are examples of countries that earned a ‘2’ ranking on the 2006 report.

So, is there a relationship between the kind of Freedom House rankings a country earns and the percentage of Muslims in that country? The results from the 2006 report are striking:

Countries that are 51%-70% Muslim earn an average combined ranking of 9.1.
Countries that are 71%-90% Muslim earn an average combined ranking of 9.6.
Countries that are 91%-100% Muslim earn an average combined ranking of 10.4.

To put this in perspective, remember that the best possible ranking a country can receive is a ‘2’. Looking at these figures for Muslim-majority countries, you see that on average, the higher the percentage of Muslims in a country, the worse the civil liberties and political rights rankings earned by that country. These results are not terribly surprising. Moreover, Freedom House statistics reveal that Muslim-majority countries, although they have made progress toward greater rights and liberties over the last ten years, nevertheless lag well behind every other major region in the world. Indeed, Islam and liberty do not mix!

Of course this is only a generalization, and there are exceptions, like Mali. Mali is 90% Muslim and earned a combined civil liberties and political rights score of 4, which, though not a 2, is still good enough to put it in Freedom House’s “free” category.

So why is there such a huge ‘liberty lag’ in the group of Muslim nations? To a significant degree, these results are due to the totalitarian character of Islam.

FAROUK: (4) Do you acknowledge that the Quran calls itself ‘the criteria’? If so, please comment on the contradictory information which you have put forth from Sahih al-Bukhari and Abu Dawood?

The Quran can call itself whatever it wants. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a deeply-flawed work that is highly suspect, to say the least (see my answer to the next question) and has, at best, only literary and historical interest. As for Mr. Farouk’s specious ‘differing translations’ defense, as I have said before, the Quran says pretty much the same thing no matter who has done the translating.

FAROUK: (5) When the Quran calls to fight ‘al-kaafiroon’, who is it referring to?

‘Al Kaafiroon’ means ‘the disbelievers’ and is also alternatively spelled in English ‘al-kafirun’. It’s also the name of the 109th Sura or chapter of the Quran. This name, ‘al-kaafiroon’, is not a compliment. In Malaysia in particular, calling someone a ‘kafir’ is almost always taken as an insult. The Quran spends much of its length condemning unbelievers (i.e. non Muslims) in one way or another, calling them various unflattering names like the one discussed here.

So, exactly how much of the Quran talks about the Kuffar/Kufr/Kaafir (unbelievers)?
Here’s a statistical study of the Quran to help answer this question. This study took 201 randomly selected verses from the Quran as they were listed verbatim on a pro-Islamic website. The study’s sampling gives every sura a certain minimum representation, and the larger Suras have a larger representation in the total statistical sample of 201 verses.

Here is the specific breakdown of how these Quranic verses can be classified:

106/201 (52.7%) is hatred aimed at kaafir (infidels), defined as-
*Threats towards infidels either in the after life or this life
*Degrading infidels by calling them evil, stupid, thankless, blind, deaf, liars, and so on
*Calls to fight against them
*Verses that say "except the believers" when wishing death on nonbelievers were counted as hatred, since avoiding death is not a positive to believers
*The threat or insult can be aimed at infidels in general or any specific infidel

50/201 (24.9%) Deals with believers, defined as-
*Mentioning them *Saying they are righteous
*Saying they will get good things
*Any mentions of one of the prophets were put into this category too

23/201 (11.4%) deals with Allah-
*Who he is
*That he is almighty
*Any of his creations 10/201 (5%) deal with the ‘Day of Doom’ or the ‘Day of Judgment’-
*Either the ‘Day of Doom’ when destruction is sent on the earth or *’Day of Judgment’ when all are judged before Allah
*Any message pertaining to how God records what men do was assigned to this category

4/201 (2%) are anti-woman-
*That it’s okay to beat a woman
*Women and slaves get married off but have no choice in the matter, and are very self-serving to Mohammad or men in general.

4/201 (2%) deal with giving to the poor in some way

2/201 (1%) deal with some kind of Muslim custom or etiquette-
*How to divorce your wife

1/201 (0.5%) disapproves of a man who murdered someone, but only because it was for the wrong reason to kill someone.

1/201 (0.5%) actually says it is okay for people to have their religion while Muslims have theirs

As seen here, analysis shows that over 50% of the Quran (52.7%) deals with nothing but hatred aimed at infidels.

FAROUK: (6) In your system of ethos – which you are employing to judge the Quran and Islam-is it not ethical for people to fight against those who fight them and to fight for people who are calling for help?

By Mr. Farouk’s logic as posited here, that means countries under attack, like Israel, or Iraq’s democratically elected government, for example, should be helped to resist their aggressors (who in these two cases happen to be Muslim). Isn’t that right, Mr. Farouk? Don’t forget that Spain and the UK were also brutally and deliberately assaulted in recent years by Islamic terrorists in a string of bombings on civilian targets. For another example, the attacks on 11 September 2001 were without a doubt a massive Jihadist attack on an unsuspecting United States. In the aftermath of those atrocities, America’s closest allies like the UK and Australia stood firmly by their American friends as the US retaliated. How about Malaysia? Did Malaysia offer troops to help the US attack the Taliban, the government that was helping to shelter the guilty parties behind 9-11?

So, which is more ethical? Helping free nations who are attacked, or helping Muslim tyrants and dictators who shelter or support Islamic terrorists? Then again, Mr. Farouk’s ethical universe seems to be unable to contemplate the idea of Muslims being aggressors.

FAROUK: (7) You claim that there is ‘nothing even remotely from God in Islam’. This statement presupposes that you know what is close to God or Godly. Can you please expound for us what Godliness is?

Maybe I didn’t spend ten years studying in Mecca, but I know what ‘godliness’ is not. ‘Godliness’ is not enforced ‘virtue’, as Shariah plainly is. ‘Godliness’ is not the stoning of adulterers, second-class citizenship for women and dhimmis, the cutting off of hands and feet of thieves, or the execution of homosexuals. How can any god demand this?

But Mr. Farouk asks for my opinion on what ‘godliness’ is, so I shall elucidate. Godliness, I am convinced, is best encapsulated in the Golden Rule. This is expounded in the Bible thusly:

*Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22, 38)

Now, does Islam follow the Golden Rule? Islam today claims the right to manifest its religion and belief. This is done by threats, coercion, intimidation, litigation, and disinformation. Islam also employs terrorism and mass murder, virulent anti-Jewish racism, and virulent religious bigotry against Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and all others who are not Muslim. “Religious freedom for us,” Muslims say, “but no religious freedom for you—our religion forbids it.” Sunni Islam today claims the right to manifest its religion by killing Shias, and Shia Islam by killing Sunnis, as they have off and on for centuries, in a 1400 year-old blood feud that never ends. Plainly, Islam does not follow the Golden Rule.

As shown in Freedom House’s grim statistics, and honest appraisals of the Quran, Islam today teaches and practices the exact opposite of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Islam today wants civil law throughout the world replaced with Sharia law. Islam today is diametrically opposed to religious freedom and intellectual freedom—it seeks religious hegemony, a theocratic Islamic super-state called the ‘Caliphate’, a region first, and eventually a world, of religious totalitarianism.

So, is Islam or its Quran ‘godly’? I suppose that depends if you believe in a God of Love and Compassion, or a God of War and Deceit. Which god is Islam’s god? I think most free-thinking people have the courage to know the answer.

Having answered Mr. Farouk’s questions, I now look forward to him answering my own.

3 comments:

Emerson Twain said...

Excellent! Well put, and passionate to boot. Keep the pressure on.

"Is virtue enforced a virtue worth having?" Devastating.

The golden rule which you cite most eloquently, and "render unto to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" pretty much sum up the ethical differences between Islam and the West.

Thank-you for your efforts and best regards from the American Midwest.

Anonymous said...

AJ,

What say you to this pretentious essay

http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/azly.php

by a Malay-Muslim apologist currently indoctrinating students in Columbia University in the U.S.?

Harcharan said...

And here a malaysian dhimmi tries real hard:
http://ktemoc.blogspot.com/2007/06/alif-to-yaa-of-malaysian-ethnic-schism.html