Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Trouble with Islam Part II

Islam is not a Peaceful Religion

By Jesse Nickles,

I love Muslims. The few Muslim nations that I’ve visited are home to some of the most hospitable and generous people that I have ever met. However, this does not change the politically incorrect fact that Islam is an ideology that inherently promotes violence, subjugation, and inequality.

Before you call me a racist, let me clarify to you that I am analyzing Islam as an ideology that affects millions of people, and not generalizing the actions or attitudes of any certain ethnic group. You see, when the claim is submitted that “Islam is a peaceful religion,” it is most always based on the fact that indeed, most Muslims are peaceful people. This, however, only confirms the fact that most humans of the world pursue peaceful lives, without truly addressing the ideology itself.

I could easily construct an argument calling solely upon the news photos I see regularly of women being beaten in Kabul, or the mutilated bodies of Hindus in Bangladesh, or the toddlers dressed up as suicide bombers in Palestine, or a Ronald McDonald statue being burned in Pakistan. I could also call upon Muslim holidays like the Day of Ashoura, when Shiite Muslims slice open the heads of their babies with swords. I could even point out the fact that the Muslim world seems to have continually bloody borders: central and east Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, central Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. - but I suppose these would be cheap shots.

Many ideologies in the world that by their nature seek “good” have been perverted to accomplish “evil.” Hitler justified his wars by claiming allegiance with Christianity. “By fighting off the Jews,” he wrote in his book, Mein Kampf, “I am doing the Lord's work.” The list of perversions justified by the Catholic Church, likewise, is almost limitless - and interestingly, they have yet to add Mein Kampf to their “Index of Forbidden Books.”

In fact, a recent poster put up on UC Irvine’s campus by the recently established Atheists, Agnostics, and Rationalists Club argued that without religion, we would have “No Holocaust… No 9/11… No Problem.” Perhaps ignorance like this has certain foundations. But, as it turns out, there are other non-religious, well-meaning ideologies like communism that, according to the U.S. Senate, has been responsible for upwards of 100 million human deaths within the last century alone.

Islam is different than many “well-meaning” religious and social ideologies in that the ideology itself contains oppressive elements – it requires no perverting. In Arabic, the word “Islam” means “submission” (to the will of Allah); which is what Islam expects from both Muslims and non-Muslims, according to the Koran. It is now the fastest growing religion the world.

Ultimately, much of the inconsistency in Islamic ideology comes from the concept of “Nashk” – the idea of abrogating older ideas with newer ones. The very core of Islam is built upon this idea: the words of Christ are said to abrogate any conflicting commands of past Jewish texts, and the words of Mohammed are said to abrogate any conflicting commands of Christ. But since Mohammed’s death, his descendants and followers have routinely declared additions and subtractions from original Islamic texts in this same spirit of Nashk. Hence the ensuing chaos: Sunni verse Shiite, Egypt verse Iran, Osama bin Laden verse… well, I suppose most ayatollahs hate America these days too.

But most major Islamic texts and religious leaders seem to agree on one thing –that violence is desirable, or at least justifiable, against non-Muslims and “hypocritical” Muslims. In Surah 9:29 of the Koran, for example, it states:

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the people of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

In other words, non-Muslims must either: convert to Islam, pay a heavy tax to Muslims, or face war. This verse, according to mainstream Islamic theology, abrogates earlier peaceful verses in the Koran that Mohammed wrote during the Mecca phase of Islam. Among other reasons for the shift, his new empire was short on money at the time.

Most Americans don’t realize that the very first foreign military engagement of the United States after gaining our independence was a response to proactive Muslim aggression – the First Barbary War, fought in the Mediterranean Sea. Muslim pirates had been demanding (and receiving) the Jizyah tax from American trade ships in exchange for safe passage, which eventually amounted to 20 percent of U.S. government annual revenues by the year 1800. In 1786, when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli’s ambassador in London, they asked him by what right the pirates extorted money and took slaves. Jefferson reported to Congress:

“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet (Mohammed), that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman (Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to heaven.”

Upon Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, further ransoms were denied, and a four-year war was eventually launched against Tripoli that ended in U.S. victory, now memorialized in the U.S. Marine Hymn. Ironically, it was Jefferson’s Koran that U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison was recently sworn in on.

Many Muslims respond to exposures like this by saying that verses have been “mistranslated” and that one cannot truly understand Islam without speaking Arabic. This is a hilarious defense when you realize that there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in all Arab nations combined – and yet, the growth of al-Qaeda and other violent Muslim groups doesn’t seem to be phased by so-called “mistranslation” in that part of the world, let alone anywhere. In fact, according to PBS, only 12 percent of Muslims worldwide are Arab, and the vast majority of Arab Americans are Christian.

I recently attended an event at UC Irvine put on by the Muslim Student Union where a former Christian pastor-turned-Muslim, Yusuf Estes, came to speak on peace, unity, and Islam. The audience was given the chance to submit question cards at the end, so taking up the offer, I wrote my own:

“Do you really think that Islam can contribute to a so-called ‘global peace’ when verses in the Koran such as Surah 9:29 and 9:39 advocate proactive violence against non-Muslims and when religious leaders in Iran and elsewhere lead Friday prayers asking Allah to aid them in the destruction of the United States and Israel?”

As my question was passed to the aisle, an MSU student leader collected it, and bewilderedly showed it to another man. After reading it, the man whispered back, “Tear it up or something,” and they ran to the back of the room to consult other MSU leaders. It made me feel sorry for them, because they obviously were peaceful Muslims that had not truly pondered the foundations of their religion. Perhaps I should let a few more verses from the Hadith (oral teachings of Mohammed) speak for themselves:

“You (i.e. Muslims) will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ‘O Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’” Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 52, Number 176

“If a man is in a mood to have sexual intercourse, the woman must come immediately even if she is baking bread at a communal oven.” Hadith Sahih Tirmzi, Vol. 1, P.428

There is no such thing as Muslim extremists. There are only those that follow the teachings of Islam and those that don’t. Islamic “terrorists” simply choose to follow all such teachings, while most Muslims reject the teachings that they sensibly, and commendably, conclude are oppressive – even though they have trouble condemning Islamic “terrorists” dogmatically. It is a bizarre situation when an American can’t legally be a communist in some states, but is allowed to propagate an ideology that calls for the outright destruction of our country.

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