St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Peace
Does the military action the U.S. is contemplating against Iraq meet the standards of a just war?
|Date: 4/6/2003 10:22:46 AM|
Name or Pseudonym: Marmaduke
Subject: Islam kills
(I feel a little embarrassed that I have to write this disclaimer. Unfortunately, many readers do not have the background to understand the difference between Arabs, Muslims and Islam. Islam is the religion of the Quran, the book that supposedly contains the prophet Mohammeds words, which supposedly came from Allah himself. The Muslims are the people who believe in Islam. The Arabs are an ethnic group. Not all Arabs are Muslims. There are Arabs who are Christian, and some Arabs are even Jewish. Most Muslims in the world are not Arab. The largest Muslim country in the world is Pakistan, whose inhabitants are not Arab. The largest Muslim community in the world is in India, whose inhabitants are not Arab. It is true, of course, that Islam came from Arabia, and that Islam has shaped the Arab societies. The topic of this article is Islam, which is a religion and, in my opinion, an ideology. It does not automatically apply to all Arabs, some of whom are not Muslim at all and many of whom do not believe to the letter of the Quran. I believe that many of the problems of the Arab societies are due to the fact that they were shaped by Islam. This does not automatically translate into a racial statement against Arabs.) All religions have killed millions of innocents in the name of their Gods, but today Islam is particularly dangerous.
Westerners are good at finding excuses for the Muslim world. After all, Palestinians have been killed for years by the Israelis. After all, most Muslims live in extreme poverty. After all, European powers colonized their countries. After all, America exploits their oil. After all, the Crusades were evil and cruel. (This, of course, does not set the record straight: Muslims conducted their own crusades against Christians; Muslims colonized countries that were independent; Muslims exploited the riches of Africa and Central Asia; Muslims were wealthy when Europeans were poor).
What Westerners fail to realize is that over the last decade the tables have been turned, and it has been consistently the Muslims who have been involved in religious violence around the world: Muslims versus Hindus in India, Muslims versus Jews in Palestine, Muslims versus Christians in Nigeria, Muslims versus Christians and Animists in Sudan, and Muslims versus Christians, Hindus and Chinese in Indonesia, etc etc. Today, there is no Christian terrorism and there is no Buddhism terrorism. Today, there is only Islamic terrorism. You never hear a Christian say that all Muslims should die. A Christian who said so in public would be immediately silenced by the authorities and maybe arrested. You can hear Muslims ask for the death of Christians, Hindus, etc pretty much in every Islamic country. They do it publicly. You can see their faces in tv. Muezzins, imams and ayatollahs do it in the mosques and on tv. Nobody is stopping them.
Westerners fail to see a fundamental feature of modern Islamic behavior: whenever they obtain something, Muslims assume that they owe it to Allah (and to their faith in Allah). Whenever a Western country gives them something or does something for them, Muslims dont thank the West: they thank Allah. For example, if the West deported all the Israelis and gave Israel back to the Arabs, the Arabs would thank Allah, not the West. The Arabs would assume that it was their faith in Allah, and their fight in the name of Allah, that gave them Israel. In a matter of days, they would start arguing about something else: Cyprus, Sicily, Turkey, whatever. Devout Muslims never see the good in the actions of the others: any good comes from Allah, not from the West. Devout Muslims will always see the evil in the actions of the West: the evil comes from the West and is due to the fact that Westerners are infidels.
The USA fought for Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait, which are all Muslim countries. For the Muslim masses, that was the will of Allah. No Muslims (other than the ones directly involved) took to the streets waving American flags to thank America for protecting the Muslims in Kosovo.
All evil is due to America (and to the infidels in general). All good is due to Allah and to their faith in Allah (and their fighting for Allah).
There is virtually nothing that the West can do to appease these Muslims. Their complaints will continue forever, simply switching target.
Islamic fundamentalists will stop only when all of America, Europe, Russia, China and Africa will convert to Islam. Muslim leaders around the world proudly predict that this is eventually going to happen: Islam will eventually rule all over the world, because that is the will of Allah. Then peace will reign.
Westerners underestimate this aspect of Islam, which is its fundamental ideology. The reason that it is so deadly serious is that it is eerily reminescent of Hitlers plans for mankind.
It is simply not true that Islam is as peaceful as Christianity (or Buddhism or whatever) and that it is evil extremists that make it deadly. Islam is inherenly different. Lets take Christianity (I am not a practicing Christian and I am aware of the atrocities committed by the Catholic church, and I could as well take Buddhism, but, since these terrorists at present are mainly targeting Westerners, I will compare Islam with Christianity).
Westerners often apply ethnic relativism to non-Christian religions, granting all of them the same rights. There are laws in the USA that explicitly forbid discrimination based on religion. This is noble (although Muslims dont seem too grateful) but it neglects the inherent differences between Islam and other religions. In the gospels Jesus talks only of forgiveness. Jesus never separates races (in fact he was a Jew while Christianity would spread among non-Jews). Jesus clearly stated that all creatures are loved by God. There is no discrimination against women in the Gospels. Jesus said that everybody, even prostitutes and criminals, can go to heaven (he ruled out only rich people, but wealthy Westerners forgot that part).
Now compare the gospels with the Quran: Mohammed explicitly states that only Muslims will go to heaven; and that every Muslim has the duty to carry out a "jihad" to spread Islam around the world; and he repeatedly calls for violence against the infidels. There is nothing in the Christian gospels or the Hinduist vedas or the Buddhist scriptures that pits those religions against the other faiths of the world. The Catholic church did persecute other faiths, but not because it was in the gospels (because evil Popes had their own political agendas). Muslims persecute other faiths because it is in the Quran. It is not corrupt Muslim priests who promote religious hatred, it is zealous Muslim priests who promote religious hatred. Jesus never told people to kill (not even in self-defense). Neither did Buddha. Mohammed did.
The Quran and the Hadith repeatedly state that the "jihad" is one of main duties of Muslims (the Quran is mainly a list of duties, more similar to a military book than to the gospels). The word "jihad" means "struggle" and it requires three orders of "struggle": with the heart (striving to be a better Muslim), with the hand (using force to spread Islam) and with the word (converting infidels). So Jihad is the struggle for the cause of spreading Islam, by any available means. That is why it is such an important duty in the Quran and the reward is paradise.
The Hadith devotes an entire chapter to instructions about the jihad: how to begin the war, how to conduct it, how to end it. It describes in detail the actions that are correct and the actions that are incorrect during the jihad (for example, the men who are captured in a jihad can be used as slaves and the women can be used as concubines, both of which Muslims routinely did during their expansion).
Any Muslim who claims that the Quran/Hadith is a peaceful book that does not preach hatred against the other faiths is omitting those instructions about the holy war against infidels. Which is a generous act, but that Muslim is not a real Muslim. Real, devout Muslims know about that sentence and know they go to paradise if they carry out the jihad against the infidels.
There is also a fundamental difference in scope between Islam and Christianity. The gospels prescribe no Christian structure of society. Jesus did not spell out a Christian legal system, or Christian rules as far as society/politics should work. The Christian gospels do not prescribe a legal or political system for Christian states. Christianity is merely a set of moral precepts. The Quran, on the other hand, is explicitly a book about the structure of society. The duty of each Muslim is to struggle for the creation of an Islamic state, and the Quran states which should be the laws of such a state (the "shariah"). Islams goal was to reform society and to form a nation. Islams mission is the reform of the whole world. Islams mission is inherently political. The call for jihad is a natural consequence of this mission. The jihad would make no sense in Christianity, because the gospels do not ask people to build such and such a state. Islam does. Islam is about war. It was from the beginning. Christianity is about peace (and so are Buddhism and many other religions). The entire Quran is basically a manual on the jihad. So much so that waging war on his own countrymen became Mohammeds main occupation in his adulthood. Jesus never struck a man and offered the other cheek. Buddha preached not to kill any form of life. Mohammed was personally leading raids against caravans and slaughters of tribes.
From the Quran:
o "And fight those who have not faith in Allah nor in the hereafter and who forbid not what God and his Prophet have forbidden, and who are not committed to the religion of truth" (9:29);
o "O Prophet, fight the disbelievers and hypocrites" (9:73);
o "Fight the people of the book (Christians and Jews), who do not accept the religion of the truth (Islam)" (9:29);
o "Strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies" (8:60);
o "I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite them above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. It is not you who slew them; it was Allah" (8:12,17).
o "The unbelievers follow falsehood while the believers follow the Truth. When you meet the unbeliever strike off his head, and when you have laid him low, bind him firmly" (sura 23).
o "When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives." (Sura xlvii.4)
o "Those who believe fight in the cause of God."(Sura iv, 76)
o "Fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of Allah" (Sura viii, 39-42)
o "Kill those who join other gods with Allah wherever you may find them."(Sura ix, 5-6)
The Quran instructs Muslims "not to make friendship with Jews and Christians" (5:51), "to kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (2:191), "to murder them and treat them harshly" (9:123), "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" (9:5), "to slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers" (5:34), "to seize them, and bind them, and burn them in the blazing fire" (69:30-37).
Mohammeds rule is simple: "If there are twenty amongst you, you will crush two hundred: if a hundred, you will crush a thousand of them" (8:65). Verse 9.10 affirms the superiority of the "mujaheddin" (Muslims who engages in jihad) over the "mumin" (Muslims who testify that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet). You decide whether terrorists simply obey the Quran or twist its words.
Islam is about a state, the Quran is about creating that state and the Muslims are the people who "strive" (with either heart, word or "hand") to create that state.
Now refresh your memory about what the gospels say: "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52). "But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." (Matthew 5:39).
Have you ever heard any Islamic cleric go on tv and tell the terrorists that they are wrong and should stop killing infidels? Have you ever heard a Catholic priest go on tv and call for a holy war against the infidels? No, you have heard Islamic clerics call for a holy war and you have never heard a Catholic (or Buddhist) priest call for a holy war. The Pope in person routinely calls for all Catholics to be tolerant of other faiths. Have you ever heard any Iranian ayatollah or Arab mufti call for tolerance? The Muslim attitude, at all levels, is 180 degrees different from the attitude of other religions.
Ultimately, the difference is in the meaning of the term "fanaticism". We call "fanatical" any Christian or Hindu or whatever who distorts the spirit and the letter of the holy books. Jesus preached peace and forgiveness: any Christian who preaches war and hatred is "fanatical". On the other hand, we call "fanatical" any Muslim who follows the spirit and the letter of the Quran. A "fanatical Christian" is not a good Christian. A "fanatical Muslim" is precisely a good Muslim. The confusion about the term "fanaticism" can be fatal. A Muslim is "fanatical" as much as the nazis and the Japanese kamikaze were. They followed the spirit and the letter of their leaders. A "fanatical Christian" is the member of a splinter, apocryphal, aberrant and very limited sect. A "fanatical Muslim" is a zealous Muslim. A "fanatical Christian" is a sacrilegious Christian.
Islam, by its nature, is a violent and totalitarian ideology.
There is hardly a single Islamic country that is a democracy. The less Muslim a country is the less totalitarian its regime is (e.g., Bangladesh is probably the most democratic Islamic country in the world, followed by Turkey). Over the last decade, countries from Africa to South America, from the Far East to Eastern Europe have become democratic. Not a single Arab country did. Ironically, the only Arabs who have the right to vote are those who live in the USA, Israel and Western Europe. The poorest countries in the world (not counting small African countries) are Islamic: Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan. Muslims emigrate by the millions to Christian countries, while no Christians emigrate to Muslim countries. Muslims were doing a lot better, in terms of both freedom, wealth and safety, when their countries were European colonies.
The chapter on Islamic women is particularly gruesome for a Westerner. Muslims treat women like inferior beings (as prescribed by the Quran), while women in the West are able to vote and are even protected against discrimination. According to the Quran, husbands should beat their wives with a green branch because it hurts more (38:44), women will go to hell if they disobey to their husbands (66:10), men are superior to women (2:228), men are allowed to marry up to four wives and to sleep with their slave maids and keep as many captive women as they like (4:3) . Mohammed states that women cannot enter a tribunal (2:282) and even today in most Muslim countries a woman who has been raped cannot accuse her rapist. The idea is very simple: if a woman admits of having been raped, she admits of having committed adultery, therefore she can be condemned to death by stoning. Young girls are regularly whipped publicly if they denounce their abuser. Older women are quietly made disappear. Also, a mans word always prevails over a womans word, so all the man has to do is deny the accusation, and the woman automatically becomes either a liar or an adulterer. Most confess to being liars, because the punishment is prison instead of death.
Neither Christianity nor Buddhism preach that women are inferior beings (although Christian societies and Buddhist societies frequently discriminated against women).
(Read this statement by Muslim intellectuals and this article by Salman Rushdie).
Sure, over the centuries Western civilization has also caused a lot of problems, and a lot of dead people. There is, however, a fundamental difference: Muslims fight non-Muslims, whereas each European (Christian) power mainly fought other European (Christian) countries. In this century, Christians fought against the worst Christian dictators (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin) and eventually toppled them.
It is a fact that today the vast majority (almost the totality) of religious wars involve Muslims. At the beginning of the century there were almost no religious wars. What changed over the last century? Muslims were only 5% of the world population a century ago, they were mainly colonies of European powers and had no money. Today they are 12% of the world population, they are all independent countries and oil has given them a lot of money. Statistically, today it is much more likely that a Muslim decides to follow the Quran to the letter and start a religious war.
Despite the record, many Muslims still claim that the Islamic world is a superior world. A Muslim can point out that in his country crime is very low, there is little prostitution, there are no drugs (there would be absolutely no crime and absolutely no prostitution and absolutely no drugs in a fully Muslim state). Muslims who live in the West often feel that we are "inferior", because we let our daughters become "sluts" (relative to Muslim standards for women) and our sons do drugs. Muslims see the decadence of moral values in the West as a clear sign of "inferiority". A Muslim once told me there is irrefutable evidence that the West is inferior: we let women vote and choose their husband, therefore we are on our way to self-destruction. A true Muslim (one who is struggling for the jihad to spread Islam) would even view the religious tolerance of the West as a sign of "inferiority": Western countries let people be hindus and Buddhists and Muslims because the Western ideology is weak and decaying.
No doubt the vast majority of educated people who live in Muslim countries are against using the Quran for killing anybody. But it is a fact that the Quran invites the struggle against the infidels, and it is a fact that Mohammed rewards the "mujaheddin" with paradise. And it is a fact that nothing similar appears in any other religion. And it is a fact that millions of Muslims (not only the terrorists) believe in those verses.
Very few Muslim countries have publicly accused the Taliban or Bin Laden; and the reason is not that those dictators side with the Taliban or Bin Laden (on the contrary, those dictators are threatened by Bin Laden), but because their people, their public opinion, strongly supports the Taliban and Bin Laden. Public opinion in most Muslim countries thinks that the Taliban and Bin Laden are better Muslims than their own leaders. It is the ordinary Muslim who dislikes the West, and who believes Islam is the only good political system. It is the ordinary Muslim who justifies the actions of terrorists.
On the other hand, the West protects and defends Muslims. The very terrorists that attacked America exploited the basics of Western democracies: they planned the attack in Germany because Germany protects any freedom fighter from persecution or even investigation, and they were able to attack America because there anybody (Muslim or Christian or Hindu) can travel, work, study and board a plane. Those terrorists took advantage of the very principles of Western democracy to attack Western democracy. The very principles of Western democracy gives them the tools to commit these attacks against Western democracy.
We may be wrong in presuming that the Muslim civilization is inferior to the Western civilization, but there is something fundamentally different between the two ideologies. There is something that sets Islam apart from all other religions. True Muslims agree with that, and they are proud of it and they are willing to die for it.