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Ignoring the Evidence

Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?

Submitted by Peter (United States), Jan 20, 2004 at 11:14

...I disagree that study of the Qur'an is a poor way to understand Islam. It is full of hostility and aggression, and because Islamic teachings are taken from Qur'an and hadith (you might have said: it is wrong to study ONLY the Qur'an; the hadith, in a recension such as that of Bukhari or Musilm, must also be understood -- and both are online). When you say that there was no "Islamic terrorism" in the 1960s you know that 1) "terrorism" is NOT the same thing as JIhad, but only one weapon of Jihad 2) the war against Israel was, at the time, the main focus of Jihad, but Muslim terrorism in Kashmir was certainly ongoing 3) there were numerous examples of Jihad against non-Muslims, but they were scarcely understood, and it was convenient to misunderstand..

The best example: in the 1960s, the murders of 600,000 Chinese in Indonesia, which was reported as being against "Commuinst sympathizers" In fact, it was a campaign to kill Christian and Confucian -- that is, non-Muslim -- "foreign" elements, not to wipe out people who had shown secret support for Chairman Mao. In the same way, the earlier genocidal campaign against Armenians (by Turks, Kurds, and Arabs who preyed on the survivors in the Syrian desert) was not ethnic, but religious in character, as both foreign observers and Armenian survivors have amply testified -- against the "giavour" or Infidel. In fact, immediate conversion to Islam could spare potential victims.

If there was far less attention to Jihad in the 1960s, or for that matter all the way up to the 1990s -- that does not mean it was not continuing. Saudi Arabia was teaching then when it teaches now; persecution of the Copts in Egypt was then what it is now. Aggression by northern Muslim Nigerians against the southern Christian Nigerians was ongoing, and led directly to the attempt at an independent Biafra.

The attempt, by Arab Christians and some Arab modernizers, to deal with Itheir own plight under slam by concoctng the ideologies of Ba'athism, or to deal with local opposition in the mosques (Nasser's brand of pan-Arabism), was not so much in opposition to, but should be seen as a subset of, pan-Islamism, and contained the same attitudes, gave rise to the same atmospherics, and whatever differences as to such intra-Islamic matters as to thecriminal code and the treatment of women, was absolutely identical in its hostility to non-Muslim polities and to non-Muslims being no more than a convenient tool for exploitation (by Ba'athists in both Syria and Iraq), as in traditional Islam. Whenever they deemed it necessary (and they deemed it necessary quite often) both Nasser and Saddam Hussein used and exploited Islamic phraseology, Quran'ic textual support, and appeals to Islam --whenever they went to war (Egypt in the Yemen and against Israel, Iraq against Iran, Kuwait, the Americans). Saddam Hussein, the "secularist," had a Qur'an written in his blood, added Quran'ic verses to the Iraqi flag post-1991, and considered himself a good Muslim. His campaign against the Kurds was called Al-Anfal, the name of a Quran'ic sura.

I wish you would see the problem as the theological basis of that problem. Only a fool would argue that Islamic civilization is a monolith; only a greater fool would argue that Islam's teachings are not remarkably consistent, both in their content, principle and in their application, as regards Infidels -- in time and space, over 1350 years. Attempts to ignore the evidence, even from the normally-clearheaded, are indeed remarkable. Perhaps to be explained by Auden's phrase "Mankind cannot bear too much reality"?
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